The Declining Society: Tolerating the Intolerable
Nothing has stirred the emotions of Vermonters
quite like the civil union debate. It is an issue with views formed by
deep seated core values in all of us. For those in favor of affirming civil
unions, it is a logical progression of a changed view of society, an exercise
in tolerance, and is seen as a question of Civil Rights. For those opposed,
to recognize same sex unions is to abandon an important tradition which
predated our constitution, and which has been the basis for strong families
and a stable society.
One needs merely to review the letters to the editor since the Vermont
Supreme Court's ruling to see that emotions have ruled over logic and fact.
Anger, frustration, and bitterness leap out from the pages. Though the
arguments are emotional, common themes can be distilled. It is the intent
of this article to take a look at the arguments in favor of civil unions
drawn from the letters to the editor, and show that by applying the same
reasoning, society is powerless to prevent any regulation on sexual behavior.
Below are ten arguments in favor of civil unions taken from the myriad
of letters to the editor since the Supreme Court's decision regarding same
sex couples. Though each of these reasons can be proven false, it is not
the focus of this article to prove them false, but to investigate philosophically
their further application.
1) This is a Civil Rights issue, and society cannot deny Civil Rights.
2) Homosexuality is genetic, and there is no choice in the matter.
Why would homosexuals choose to be homosexual when society frowns on this
3) Society has no right to tell someone who to love and who not to love.
4) Homosexuals are in long-term committed relationships, just like heterosexuals.
5) People who oppose civil unions are bigots or homophobes.
6) Homosexuality has always been a part of society, and always will
7) Society should be more tolerant and loving of people.
8) "Common Benefit(s)" should apply to all, and not one particular group.
9) Religion, morality, and the Bible have no say in lawmaking.
10) Religion is the main opposition to homosexuality, and many bad things
have been done in the name of religion.
Lets propose that five years from now, a long term committed trio of
women decided that the state should recognize their relationship, and sued
to get all the benefits of marriage through some sort of civil "multi-union".
What should society's response be? Once again, society is at the mercy
of the Supreme Court. If the court ruled in favor of the union of more
than two partners in a civil "multi-union", the legislature would find
itself in the exact position it was when in lightning fashion it created
civil unions. People against "multi-unions" could be viewed as bigoted,
and using religion to foster hate. Polygamy has been around forever, and
there have been societies that have embraced it wholeheartedly. Note that
if we examine any of the above reasons, we immediately see that philosophically
there is no difference between society trying to limit relationships to
two people, versus limiting relationships to one man and one woman.
Now suppose two brothers above the age of 18 apply to receive a civil
union license, and are denied the license because they violate the consanguinity
clauses. They could then bring a law suit against the state for creating
civil unions with consanguinity clauses. Again, if we are to apply our
10 reasons above we see that that philosophically we cannot deny this couple
a civil union. As an example, the Bible clearly prohibits this type of
relationship having a sexual nature, but we see that those in favor of
incest can use arguments 9 and 10 conveniently to counter. "Incestophobes
abound" they would say.
The same basic idea can be used to remove the consanguinity clauses
from the marriage statutes. However, in this case there would be the additional
hurdle of inbreeding. Note that it is impossible for there to be an inbreeding
issue with civil unions, because reproduction must occur by surrogate parenting,
artificial insemination or adoption. In any case, even if there are some
negative attributes to an incestuous relationship, we are talking about
"tolerance", "love", and basic "civil rights" here, so there should be
no reason for bigots to have their way on incest. By argument number three,
what right does society have to tell someone who to love and who not to
Bestiality has been around since the dawn of time just like homosexuality.
To the average person this concept is quite repulsive. Proponents could
argue that more neutral terms would help out. Instead of bestiality, we
could call it interspecies sex. Note that with rules nine and ten eliminated,
it is merely a societal tradition to keep sexuality within ones species.
Religion plays a big role in condemning this action, and could be responsible
for many suicides of people with interspecies sexual tendencies. We can
apply the rest of our 10 rules, and see society has no right to condemn
this behavior. In fact, using the same formula that homosexuality has used,
it could be argued that equal treatment within sexuality classes in public
school systems would be warrented..
Enter the NAMBLA crowd. (North American Man Boy Love Association) NAMBLA
is an organization that promotes sexual relationships between adults and
children. Their basic tenants are that society merely views children as
not being able to make sexual decisions. They stress the innocence of sex,
and say it should be an educational experience for children, just like
other forms of social interaction. They are working to eliminate all age
of consent laws. NAMBLA has some friends in the American Psychological
Association. A 1995 decision by this board declared that pedophilia was
not a disorder anymore, and was only treatable if it caused an issue of
guilt on the part of the pedophile. This really paves the way for society
to de-criminalize pedophilia.
NAMBLA was jilted by the homosexual community, primarily because they
did not have the image needed to foster the "human rights" advances that
homosexual activists were looking for. This, after NAMBLA was involved
in all of the marches on Washington, and has been a charter member of the
homosexual movement. It has caused much bitterness in the NAMBLA crowd
because this crowd sees the same basic philosophical reasoning behind allowing
pedophilia as homosexuality itself. They see the current homosexual movement
as being hypocritical. Recall reason number two above, that this orientation
is something genetic, and thus beyond any control. By this same reasoning,
society should not be able to make decisions on who pedophiles should love.
Pedophilia does have the added complication that it does not have two "consenting
adults," but instead one adult and a child. NAMBLA sees this type of "inter-generational
sex" as more of a learning experience, and rather than harmful, they feel
it is educational. They feel that children should be given more power to
make their own sexual decisions. Why deprive children from such a natural
process in life?
In conclusion, using the basic reasoning that is being used in the pro-civil
union arguments, we are powerless as a society to regulate any type of
sexual behavior, regardless of the will of the people. We will eventually
be forced to embrace all the above parade of horribles. This may take a
substantial amount of time, but society will eventually take on the least
common denominator of morals, which turns out to be just an empty version
of "tolerance" and "love." This form of tolerance says "I accept everything
that you stand for, even if that leads you to self destruct." How could
someone hate another person more than to see them headed in the wrong direction,
and not to point this out? The courts and psyche of the liberal political
establishment won't allow us to govern ourselves. As G.K. Chesterton puts
it "What good is it to tell a society that it has every liberty except
that of making laws?" What a contradiction to the philosophy and ideas
of the constitutional framers.