Gay rights and marriage

is the subject of my Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld:

The problem when one wants to put into public query and analysis anything related to gay rights, particularly as to marriage, is that one nearly always runs into the inevitable accusations of intolerance, bigotry, or even stupidity. But the stupidity lies actually in not questioning and objectively examining popularly held presumptions, particularly when such have widely acquired favor in media or among the so-called fashionable circles.

But it would be good to proceed from a position that I’m sure nobody would find reason to disagree with: that the family is a very important basic social unit and to allow the deterioration of this important institution would lead to a consequent depreciation of society. As Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson found: “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” Thus, where the institution of the family goes, so goes a country. That is why our Constitution -- wisely -- mandated that the State “protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution.”

So proceeding on the importance of the family as a basic institution of society, the comment by Rick Fitzgibbons, director of Comprehensive Counseling Services and one who practiced psychiatry for 35 years, is pertinent: “The most important issue is the welfare of the child. Social science research has repeatedly demonstrated the vital importance of both a father and a mother for the healthy development of children and the serious risks that they face if they are raised without a mother or a father. Mothers and fathers bring unique gifts that are essential to the health of a child.”

It must be considered that the objections posited here place no reliance on religious doctrine, Catholic or otherwise. The need to reject homosexual unions finds its basis in natural law. As Princeton’s Robert P. George (Sex and the Empire State, 28 June 2011) says: “... once one buys into the ideology of sexual liberalism, the reality that has traditionally been denominated as ‘marriage’ loses all intelligibility. That is true whether one regards oneself politically as a liberal or a conservative. For people who have absorbed the central premises of sexual liberation (whether formally and explicitly, as liberals tend to do, or merely implicitly as those conservatives who have gone in for it tend to do), marriage simply cannot function as the central principle or standard of rectitude in sexual conduct x x x The idea that sexual intercourse (the behavioral component of reproduction) consummates and actualizes marriage as a one-flesh union of sexually complementary spouses naturally ordered to the good of procreation loses its force and even its sense. x x x As a result, to the extent that one is in the grip of sexual-liberationist ideology, one will find no reason of moral principle why people oughtn’t to engage in sexual relations prior to marriage, cohabit in non-marital sexual partnerships, form same-sex sexual partnerships, or confine their sexual partnerships to two persons, rather than three or more in polyamorous sexual ensembles.”

Hence the need for greater reflection regarding any expansion of gay rights. Senate Bill No. 2814 and House Bill No. 1483 are two draft laws that ostensibly appear harmless, even necessary at the outset, asking as they do for the outlawing of discrimination based on “sexual orientation.” But it is highly important that people be given the time to scrutinize and ponder over the proposed legislations and their consequences. While no bill presently seeks to allow marriage between people of the same sex, nevertheless the probability of it happening through “creeping” legislation is there. Notably, HB No. 1483 even demands unconditional employment for homosexuals in the military and educational institutions (regardless if the school is a nursery or kindergarten).

However, as George notes, “... people should care because the whole edifice of sexual-liberationist ideology is built on damaging and dehumanizing falsehoods. It has already done enormous harm -- harm that falls on everybody, but disproportionately on those in the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of our society. If you doubt that, have a look at Myron Magnet’s great book The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties’ Legacy to the Underclass, or some of the writings of Kay Hymowitz and other serious people who have examined the social consequences for the poor of the embrace of sexual liberalism by celebrities and other cultural elites.”

A distinction must be emphatically made between the person, and the inclination and related action. As regards every individual, respect, tolerance, and charity should indeed be given. However, natural law tells us that the homosexual inclination is “disordered,” the same (along with the action) being at variance with the basic “human goods” determined by right reason. Accordingly, same sex marriages are to be denied, it inevitably not conforming with the unitive and procreative aspects that make marriage what it is and for its consequent effect on the family and society.