CULTURAL AND LEGAL CONFUSION SURROUND HOMOSEXUALITY
Many nations of the world find themselves struggling with the consequences of having instituted same-sex marriage or are mired in the debate over this controversial assault on family and marriage. The ongoing trial in U.S. Federal District Court in San Francisco, California illustrates the increasing cultural confusion that now swirls around the topic of homosexuality.
While journalists and observers from around the world have called the trial a “kangaroo court” presided over by a biased, activist judge, it will very likely make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the future of marriage in America will be determined. It hasinternational repercussion s as the cultural and legal assault on family and marriage pursued by the radical homosexual activists is global.
The pretext for the suit, brought by homosexuals seeking to marry in California, is that the voters of the state used discrimination and hatred rather than a rational, cultural, or legal basis when they passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The Plaintiff’s case was legally thin and emotionally hysterical. The so-called expert witnesses introduced “evidence” that merely repeated the often debunked propagandist rhetoric of homosexual activists so common in today’s biased media. It was the equivalent of “those nasty, mean, intolerant, homophobes are picking on us.”
It is that rhetoric, false in its very basis, which confuses honest, caring people around the world when faced with the constant incantation of the agenda message. Most supporters of traditional marriage do not hate people who view things differently. We just agree that they are wrong. But let us examine the truth as we know it and as homosexual advocates deny it .
CIVIL RIGHTS FOR BEHAVIORAL PRACTICES
In the early 1970s, during the U.S. civil rights movement, which sought for much-needed racial and gender equality, almost no one considered people with homosexual attraction as a distinctive demographic group. The main legal goal of homosexual activists then was to eliminate criminal penalties against homosexual acts, as a first step toward their goal of greater public acceptance.
Even though criminal laws against homosexual acts were seldom enforced, the U.S. Supreme Court considered those laws constitutional until 2003. In the early 1970’s, the public, and most lawyers, doctors, and therapists saw homosexuality, not as normal adult behavior, but as a psychological disorder.
So what has happened to cause the legal and cultural spasms we face today? Simply put, we have witnessed an aggressive political movement that has outstripped any substantive change in the medical or legal evidence. In 1973, in response to increasing political harassment by homosexual activists, the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations removed homosexuality from their official list of disorders. This action was taken by simply putting the issue to an open vote in their professional convention meetings. The change was passed, not because of any change in actual medical findings, but as a political statement. A friend of UFI, psychologist Dean Byrd has written,“This was the first time in the history of healthcare that a diagnosis was decided by popular vote rather than scientific evidence.”
The activists have used similar methods in the years since then, trying to prove that they are a legitimate demographic group with fixed and immutable, or unchangeable, characteristics. They must convince us of this way in order to justify their demand for the same legal protections now given to race and gender. It is a crucial point in understanding both the agenda and the tactics of intimidation used by these activists.
We have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of the homosexual lifestyle to accept as normal that which is not normal. Disagree with them and be labeled as narrow-minded, bigoted, and unreasonable. These advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but even quicker to attack those with a different view. Their hope is to intimidate opposition and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like ‘homophobic.’ This is more than a social issue. It may ultimately be a test of basic religious or other freedoms.
THE “BIG LIE” THEORY PUT TO THE TEST
In modern schools of communication or journalism, the so-called “Big Lie” theory is taught. That theory simply states that, using modern communications tools, one can advance and eventually win public acceptance of even the most patently false notion by repeating it loud enough and often enough. Clearly this theory is in use today. There are four misconceptions, the polite skeptic would say “falsehoods,” which homosexual activists seek to establish as facts in the minds of policymakers and the public.
First is the misconception that same-gender attraction is an inborn and unalterable orientation. This untrue assertion tries to convince us that an individual’s entire identity is centered on a fixed sexual orientation or condition. Having same-gender attraction is not in the DNA. However, the propaganda has almost convinced the public about this point. A 2009 poll asked U.S. adults what causes people to be gay or lesbian. In the two most common responses, 42% said gay or lesbian people are born that way, and 36% said they choose to be that way.
So much individual variation exists with so many possible explanations that there is simply no scientific consensus about what causes homosexual tendencies. As the American Psychological Association (APA) states, “[N]o findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any factor or set of factors … [N]ature and nurture both play complex roles.” Thus, even though natural personality traits do influence one’s inclinations, the idea that there is a “gay gene” has little scientific support. Columbia University researchers stated, “the assertion that homosexuality is genetic . . . must be dismissed out of hand as a general principle of psychology.”
The second misconception is that therapy cannot treat, let alone change, same-gender attraction. This false assumption is linked to the first one: if a person is born a homosexual, there is no need to change. Since homosexuality is a permanent condition, you can’t change anyway. Evidence that people have changed threatens the homosexual political agenda. Change disproves their claim that homosexuality is a fixed condition that deserves the same legal protections as those based on race and gender. So they don’t want anyone to change, or even to believe that change is possible.
Despite this, the APA has considered making it unethical for a therapist to treat someone with same gender attraction who desires to change. But in the year 2000, when such a proposal was pending before the APA, they were met with a very different form of activism. Busloads of formerly same-sex attracted men appeared at their national meeting, claiming their right to choose therapy for their unwanted attraction. The APA representative who met with them, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, was the same man who had met with homosexual activists nearly thirty years earlier, when the APA voted to remove homosexuality from its list of disorders.
Dr. Spitzer decided to study two hundred people who had changed to a heterosexual orientation that had lasted more than five years. Despite the objections of activists who thought his research threatened their political agenda, Dr. Spitzer concluded, “Like most psychiatrists, I thought that . . . sexual orientation could not be changed. I now believe that is untrue-some people can and do change.”
In 2009, the APA adopted a resolution stating there is insufficient evidence to prove conclusively whether sexual orientation can be changed. But, the same resolution also stated that “it is ethical-and can be beneficial-for counselors to help some clients reject gay or lesbian attractions,” especially clients with a strong religious identity.
The trouble with therapy is that not everyone who seeks treatment succeeds. That is why responsible therapists can’t promise particular outcomes. The client’s level of commitment to the treatment process is probably the most significant variable in successful outcomes. The skill and attitude of the therapist also matters a great deal. But, well over 50% of those seeking treatment can be significantly helped by it. That is roughly the same success rate as treatments for clinical depression. One therapist who has treated both men and women for many years reports that 40% of his clients find full heterosexual resolution , another 40% achieve enough resolution to control their attraction and behavior, and 20% are unsuccessful.
The third misconception is that most people favor same-gender marriage. There are only seven countries out of approximately 195 countries that sanction same-sex marriage and only six of 50 U.S. states. In fact, thirty U.S. States have constitutional amendments that define marriage as a one-man, one-woman relationship.
Also, polling continues to show that most Americans support traditional marriage. A recent USA Today/Gallup Poll asked whether allowing people of the same gender to marry will improve society, have no effect, or will harm society. Only 13% thought same-sex marriage would make society better, while 48% thought it would make society worse , and 35% thought it would have no effect.
The fourth misconception is that there are no rational, non-religious reasons for opposing same-gender marriage. The activists acknowledge no serious sociological or other argument for limiting marriage to a man and a woman. We offer a non-religious case against same-gender marriage. It is supported by social science and can be studied in the UFI Sexual Orientation Issues Guide.
Society and laws have long endorsed man-woman marriage with an honored priority, not just to make lovers happy, but because marriage is the most significant social institution. It is not merely a private bond. There is a compelling societal interest in how individuals comport themselves. This public interest separates the marriage contract from every other contract in society. Why? Because the children of marriage, the future society, clearly thrive best when reared in a formal family with their own father and mother.
There is overwhelming evidence in the social science research that children do best when they live with their own biological mother and father. T he research clearly shows that, by every measure of child well-being, health, emotional stability, education, avoiding crime, drugs, and abuse; children do better in a two-parent, married, heterosexual family. That ideal child-rearing environment is not always achievable because of deaths, unavoidable divorces, and births outside wedlock. By giving policy priority to the natural family establishes the social goal that each child has a right to grow up with his or her own mother and father in a legal marriage. That goal binds the father and mother to each other, to their children, and to society’s long-term benefit.
This pattern is threatened, not just by same-gender marriage, but because, speaking generally, human culture has shifted from being a culture of marriage. Indeed homosexual marriage is not the only threat to the institution of marriage today. Using Americans as an example, we see they have more than doubled the divorce rate and quintupled the rate of unwed births since the 1960’s. Nearly 40% of all U.S. children are now born out of wedlock. These trends have inflicted untold damage upon children and families. Damaged children create a damaged society; and when enough families are dysfunctional, society itself becomes dysfunctional.
Homosexual rights do not claim to satisfy society’s enormous interest in children. This contrast between adult rights and the rights of society and children illustrates a persuasive example for the secular case against same-gender marriage. France rejected homosexual marriage in 2006. Its parliament concluded that these marriages run counter to the best interests of children and the future society they create.
The French government’s study of same gender marriage centered on marriage as a social institution. Its report said marriage is inevitably built around children, and all countries that have adopted same-gender marriage have soon afterward authorized adoption and surrogate gestation by same-gender couples. But, they concluded, France could “no longer systematically place aspirations of adults ahead” of children’s needs and rights. And if they allowed individual control of family forms to persist, France would “exhaust all possibility of expression of society’s stake in marriage.”
The French report focused on children’s need for identity and stability. Insofar as possible, it said, each child has the right to know, be cared for by, and be bonded with his or her biological parents. Biological bonding, combined with legal bonding, inherently creates the most lasting and stable adult-child relationship, providing the emotional and legal security required for optimal child development. Occasional adoptions may be necessary in exceptional cases, but there are plenty of stable heterosexual married couples who wish to adopt all available adoptive children. The report said that accepting a public policy that consciously places children with homosexual adults increases the risks to children who are already at risk because they feel identity confusion and abandonment by their biological parents. To ignore this need is to discriminate against these children. Adoption is about a child’s right to a regular family, not merely about an adult’s right to a child.
Thus France rejected same-gender marriage so that children “do not suffer as a result of situations imposed on them by adults. The interest of the child must outweigh the exercise of freedom by adults, whatever life choices are made by the parents.” This view takes marriage away from the private, adults-only world of homosexual lifestyles and returns it to its original place as society’s primary social institution.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of social science research that homosexuality has significant, negative consequences for children, society, and for the individuals who practice it, the legal and cultural assault continues. The messages proffered to people around the world attempt to convince us to surrender the institutions of family and marriage to the homosexual agenda. Having been denied by the majority in fair democratic elections, radicals seek to have courts, like that in San Francisco, wrongly impose their goals on an unwilling society. Acceptance of these false precepts will invariably lead to a generation that acts contrary to its own best interests.
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CULTURAL AND LEGAL CONFUSION SURROUND HOMOSEXUALITY SOURCE LIST
1 Dean Byrd, Mormons & Homosexuality (2008), p. 22
2 Quinnipiac University poll, April 21, 2009, in PollingReport.com.
3 In Dean Byrd, M&H, p. 36.
4 Friedman and Downey, in Byrd, M&H, p. 34.
5 Spitzer. R.L. (2003). “Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation?” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 5 October, pp. 403-417.
6 Stephanie Simon, “A New Therapy on Faith and Sexual Identity,” Wall St. J., Aug. 6, 2009 online.wsj.com/article/SB124950491516608883.html.
7 Jason Park, Understanding Male Homosexual Problems, p. 30
8 Park, p. 31.
9 PollingReport.com/civil.htm (USA Today/Gallup poll, May 7-10, 2009)
10 Hardin, 2-Parent Families Rise After Change in Welfare Laws, quoted in What Next for the Marriage Movement? (New York: Institute for American Values), posted to MarriageMovement.org, 12 Dec. 2004.
11 “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May that births to unmarried women have reached an astonishing 39.7%” of all U.S. births. Caitlin Flanagan, “Why Marriage Matters,” Time, July 13, 2009, p. 45
12 Report of the Mission of Inquiry on the Family and the Rights of Children, a study commission appointed by the National Assembly of France, January 25, 2006, p. 32 (English translation of commission report).