Gay marriage is a gray area. The rights of homosexual Americans to be married have been a divisive subject of debate in this country for decades. As of Friday June 26, 2015, the legal aspects of that debate have been resolved. Love won the case of Obergefell v. Hodges 5-4. That of course, will not solve the debate on whether or not homosexuality itself is acceptable. This debate has never really been that hard for my heterosexual, Catholic, right wing brain to wrap itself around. I believe that in America, where “all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”1, all people should be treated with the same manner of respect and common decency. However, the events of last Friday did force me to step back and examine whether there was any situation in which heterosexuals shouldn’t provide our gay neighbors with the respect and love that we would provide to anyone else. There are many diverse social situations that one could find oneself in, so I am going to examine whether or not gays should be respected as normal human beings. In doing so, I will make use of three different schools of thought. Is homosexuality acceptable socially, morally/religiously, and biologically and if not, how should those of us who aren’t gay treat them?
This should never have been a question socially. America has always been the “land of the free”. Homosexuality has been stigmatized for years but it hasn’t always been this way. The best example of American tolerance is the story of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. Baron von Steuben was a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.2 Steuben left his home country of Prussia (now Germany), and later France, because he was facing jail time for being a “Sodomite” (that’s 18th century talk for gay). Once he got to America, this characteristic of his life was no longer an issue. Accompanied with a letter of recommendation from THE Benjamin Franklin von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge in a sleigh with jingling bells, wearing a fine silk coat trimmed with fur, and petting a miniature greyhound.3 Gen. George Washington and his other commanders paid no attention to the baron’s reputation for enjoying the company of men. The baron’s tactical and technical experience in battle was more important than his sexual tendencies. After the war von Steuben was counted among the friends of founding fathers like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. Von Steuben was also awarded a pension and a house by Congress at the insistence of Washington and other friends. Von Steuben lived the rest of his life in that house with William North and Benjamin Walker, the latter of which many historians believe was von Steuben’s long-time lover. It is ironic that a society that owes so much to a gay general4, and holds yearly parades in his honor, would take issue with others of his type. We, as Americans, can’t decide if the homosexual lifestyle is right and we should respect everyone’s pursuit of personal happiness.
The question of how to treat homosexuality is nowhere more controversial than in religion. This question is insanely complicated because much of what we’ve been taught comes from the mouths of men with their own beliefs and agendas, not God. The only source that we have to truly know God’s word is the Bible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really make things any more clear because some of what Jesus taught contradicts parts of the Old Testament. Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” These are some pretty strong words against homosexuality. Jesus later directly challenges this verse in John 8:7, where He says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” Our Lord also commands us to, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” in Mark 12:31 and later clarifies that we are to treat everyone as our neighbor in Luke 10:30-37. We can’t judge the sins of others because we are all sinners. People like to pervert the word of God to fit their agendas and this often leads to hateful actions in the name of a loving God. Many Christians don’t realize that the word of the Son should be regarded as the highest form of religious law because, as we read in John 14:6, “I (Jesus) am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In many ways, the wrath of the Old Testament is canceled out by the Love and forgiveness that Jesus offers us in the New Testament. It is my belief that the best way that a heterosexual Christian can regard their homosexual neighbors is to treat them with love and pray that they are accepted by their Father in the same manner as anyone else.
Biologically, homosexuality is wrong. It is wrong because it is unnatural. The whole meaning of life from a biological/physiological perspective is “How do I make more of me?” Noted gay rights supporter, scientist, vlogger, etc. Hank Green even said so once in his educational video on the reproductive system.5 Sex exists to create babies…period. Therefore any sexual encounter that is undertaken purely in the pursuit of pleasure is unnatural. This includes “safe” premarital sex between heterosexuals who use birth control devices and all instances of anal/oral sex. We mate in order to keep the species going. Wasting sperm on gay sex, “safe sex”, and even masturbation goes directly against our natural instincts. The release of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens6 is a powerful thrill that is hard for mere humans to resist. We are wired to want to protect and defend other members of our species, so we should…again…forget about another person’s sexual orientation and treat them like anyone else. As long as one group is denied their basic rights, we are all in danger of losing the rights to free religion, free speech, and the right to bear arms that many of us hold so dear as American citizens.
It doesn’t matter if someone is a part of the LGBT community, they are still people. This is the same with religion, race, and political affiliation. WE ARE ALL MEMBERS OF THE HUMAN RACE! Man needs to accept each other for who they are. Love those who you disagree with. If you believe that a certain group shouldn’t be privileged to certain civil rights that all others enjoy, reread the Declaration of Independence. Morally, if you believe your neighbors to be sinners, pray for them instead of appointing yourself judge over others and condemning them. Biologically, remember that we are all a part of the same species, the same human race, and that we should all respect and protect other members of our species, if not for human decency, at least for our own self preservation. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” in society, faith, and as members of the human race. We are all people and we all deserve to be treated right, no matter what.
- Jefferson, Thomas. “The Declaration of Independence”. 7/4/1776.
- “Baron von Steuben” http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/steuben.html 2/11/15
- “Gay Influence: Baron von Steuben” http://gayinfluence.blogspot.com/2011/12/baron-von-steuben.html 3/22/14.
- Segal, Mark. “Baron von Steuben: Washington’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Case”. 10/26/12. http://www.bilerico.com/2012/10/baron_von_steuben_washingtons_dont_ask_dont_tell_c.php#XZSzZLdvKregtLHA.99
- Green, Hank. “How Gonads Go”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7rsH2loIY8 9/17/12.
- Harvard Medical School. “Understanding Addiction: How Addiction Hijacks the Brain”. http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/how-addiction-hijacks-the-brain.htm 3/26/15.