Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org
The central argument in favor of same-sex marriage or overturning “Don’t ask don’t tell” contains a fatal flaw. In fact, this is the flaw at the heart of the entire gay rights movement.
Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen dutifully proclaimed the flaw as truth the other day when speaking in favor of ending the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. He said, “I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”
Lie about who they are?
Sorry Admiral, but as a former ROTC instructor and legal officer in the United States Navy, I helped deny entrance to potential recruits and prosecuted existing service people for all sorts of behaviors that were incompatible with unit cohesion and military readiness. As you know, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice prohibits numerous behaviors that are not criminal offenses in civilian life (including adultery, fraternization and gambling with a subordinate), yet I never once saw anyone excused for their behavior by claiming that’s who they are.
The military is essential to our survival as a nation. It’s not a social experiment and serving in it is not a right. People have to qualify and then make sacrifices. Military people must subordinate many of their individual rights to advance the national interest. Recruits must agree to give up some of the freedoms that civilians enjoy, including certain sexual freedoms and even the freedom of speech! So even if homosexual behavior is permitted in society, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be permitted in the military.
Having served, I believe that the military needs as few sexual distractions as possible, be they from men and women serving together in combat or open homosexuality. The job is too difficult and critical to be complicating matters sexually.
More could be said, but I want to zero in on the fatal flaw in most gay-rights causes, and the one the Admiral repeated. It is the failure to distinguish between desires and behavior. Having certain sexual desires—whether you were “born” with them or acquired them sometime in life—does not mean that you are being discriminated against if the law doesn’t allow the behavior you desire.
Take marriage as an example. Despite complaints by homosexual activists, every person in America already has equal marriage rights. We’re all playing by the same rules—we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone—every adult person has the same right to marry.
“But what about homosexuals?” you ask. The question would better be stated “what about people with homosexual desires?” Put that way, you can see the flaw. If sexual desires alone are the criteria by which we change our marriage (or military) laws to give people “equal rights,” then why not change them to include polygamy? After all, most men seem born with a desire for many women. How about those who desire their relatives? By the gay rights logic, such people don’t have “equal rights” because our marriage laws have no provision for incest. And bisexuals don’t have “equal rights” because existing marriage laws don’t allow them to marry a man and a woman.
If desires alone guarantee someone special rights, why are there no special rights for pedophiles and gay bashers? The answer is obvious—because desires, even if you were “born” with them, do not justify behavior, do not make anyone a special class, and should have no impact on our laws. (See Born Gay or a Gay Basher: No Excuse.)
Laws encourage good behavior or prevent bad behavior. Desires are irrelevant. We enact all kinds of laws in the country and military that conflict with people’s desires. In fact, that’s why we need them! We wouldn’t need any laws if people always desired to do good, which is why James Madison wrote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
In other words, there should be no legal class of “gay” or “straight,” just a legal class called “person.” And it doesn’t matter whether persons desire sex with the same or opposite sex, or whether they desire sex with children, parents, or farm animals. What matters is whether the behavior desired is something the country or military should prohibit, permit or promote. Those are the only three choices we have when it comes to making law.
The standard comparisons to race and interracial marriage don’t work either. Sexual behavior is always a choice, race never is. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African American. And your race has no effect on your military readiness, but your sexual behavior often can. Likewise, race is irrelevant to marriage while gender is essential to it. Interracial couples can procreate and nurture the next generation (the overriding societal purpose of marriage), but homosexual couples cannot.
The truth is that our marriage and military laws do not discriminate against persons for “who they are”—they discriminate against the behaviors in which they engage. But so what? That’s what most laws do. For example, the Thirteenth Amendment discriminates against the behavior of some businessmen who might like to improve their profits through slavery, but it does not discriminate against those businessmen as persons. And the First Amendment’s freedom-of-religion protections discriminate against the behavior of some Muslims who want to impose Islamic law on the entire nation, but it does not discriminate against those Muslims as persons. Likewise, our marriage and military laws discriminate against the desired behaviors of homosexuals, polygamists, bigamists, and the incestuous, but they do not discriminate against them as persons.
Now some may object to my comparison of homosexuality to polygamy, incest or pedophilia. I agree that the behaviors are not the same, but the point here is that the logic used to justify homosexuality is the same. “I was born with these desires” could also be used to justify polygamy, incest, pedophilia, and even gay bashing—“Don’t blame me. I just have the anti-gay gene!”
That’s the logic reduced to the absurd. And that’s why people who want to make a case for same-sex marriage or homosexual practice in the military should use different arguments. Claiming you “are” your sexual desires, is a case of don’t ask don’t think.
(If you’d like to think more about this admittedly complicated and sensitive issue, get the compact book from which this article is adapted: Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.)
Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: don't ask don't tell, Frank Turek, gay activism, gay activists, gay marriage, polygamy
Editor’s Note: The text below is slightly altered in wording and punctuation from the originally published version. Unless otherwise stated, we make no endorsements of the links, media, organizations, or people we report on.
In the ongoing cultural debate over gay marriage, those that oppose it will at times attempt to show that the arguments used in favor of same-sex marriage can just as easily be applied to polygamy, thus opening the door for its legalization if gay marriage is legalized. In response, the pro-gay-marriage crowd usually responds mockingly, with phrases like “we graduated from the second grade,” or “this is a straw man you’ve set up, polygamy has nothing to do with gay marriage.”
What happens, however, when a pro-gay writer on the biggest liberal blog on the net argues the same point as those opposed to gay marriage? On January 6th, Lee Stranahan published an article on The Huffington Post called Why Are Gay Marriage Advocates Not Defending Polyamory? He ends his article with the following:
But what’s a poly person to do if they want to enter into a committed relationship with the people they love? Polygamy – marriage to more than one person – is no more an option for conseting [sic] adults in the United States than gay marriage is in all states expect Massachusetts and Connecticut. If the rights of gay people are being trampled on, then it’s two states worse for poly people.
If you follow the same argument template as many gay marriage advocates, anyone who opposes polygamy is a bigot and a hater. Rick Warren has made it clear that he opposes poly relationship, too. And even comparing consensual poly relationship to Jeffs is equating polyamorists with PEDOPHILES!
If Melissa Etheridge has the right to marry Tammy Lynn Michaels – and I think she does – then [sic] Melissa and Tammy also have the same right to make it official with David Crosby, it they choose to do so. In fact, if they wanted to marry Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Linsday Lohan, Samantha Ronson, Mark Ronson AND Ani Difranco…it’s their choice and their right and it’d make quite a tour, too.
There’s no argument you can make against a poly marriage that wouldn’t work just as well as an argument against gay marriage.
Aside from reasons of consistency, advocates of gay marriage should also be vocally in favor of polygamy since it allows bisexuals to be actively practicing married bisexuals. Bisexuals are the B in GLBT but they really get short shrift in the marriage discussion.
I’m in favor of real marriage equality. Love the one you’re with. Love the two or more you’re with, if you can work that out. Marry them if you’re into that kind of thing. But until the gay marriage movement embraces polygamy…well, they are just acting like bigots and haters, aren’t they?
“There is no argument you can make against poly marriage that wouldn’t work just as well as an argument against gay marriage.” Exactly! And on the flip side, there is no argument you can make for gay marriage that wouldn’t work just as well as an argument for polygamy. Lee Stranahan sees this, perhaps others in his camp will soon see this as well.
The reaction from the gay community has been shock and confusion. Jeremy Hooper from Good As You writes: “We’ve seen many anti-gays make the ‘gay marriage = polygamous marriage’ argument. But when it comes from a professed supporter of same-sex marriage equality, it’s a little harder to swallow.” He then responds to Mr. Stranahan’s article with the arguments that “Bisexuals are not innately polyamorous. We thought this went without saying, but apparently not. Bisexuality just means an attraction to both genders, not a CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIP with both sexes!” and (before changing it) “the fact is that marriage has always been considered a commitment between two people.”
Let us first consider his statement concerning bisexuality and polyamorous behavior. This was Mr. Hooper’s response to ADF’s Glen Lavy asserting that bisexuality and polygamy are related:
No Glen? You really don’t see any difference between a bisexual who wants two partners and a same-sex couple who wants one? Oh, well here, we graduated from the second grade — let us help you:
BISEXUALITY, LIKE HOMOSEXUALITY OR HETEROSEXUALITY, IS AN ORIENTATION, NOT A CHOSEN PATTERN OF COMMITMENT!!! Just like a man who is attracted to two different women must pledge a legal commitment to only the ONE of them who he intends to marry, a bisexual person must also enter into a union with only ONE PERSON! Bisexuality doesn’t mean a person is attracted to multiple partners — it just means that their capacity for finding their true love is not limited to only one specific gender!!!! It’s BIsexuality, not SIMULTANEOU-sexuality!! Stop pretending like you do not know this!!!!!
Alrighty, we feel better now. But you know what would REALLY ****(sexual reference edited out by VOR’s editor)***? If these self-professed good Christians would stop lying through their ever-loving teeth!
Glen Lavy and Lee Stranahan asserted the same belief, and yet Good As You treated Mr. Lavy with ridicule and contempt, accusing him of knowingly lying, while giving Mr. Stranahan nothing more than a humble correction. Without addressing the accuracy of their specific statements, what possible reason could there be for treating them so differently other than anti-Christian bigotry? Good As You declares that they “strive to provide a safe, progressive, and positive forum in which we work to eliminate discrimination and intolerance.” I ask Mr. Hooper to publically apologize for the glaring discrimination and intolerance shown by him towards Mr. Lavy and the Alliance Defense Fund.
Finally, let us look at his statement on historical marriage. Thankfully, Mr. Hooper eventually changed his laughably inaccurate statement “the fact is that marriage has always been considered a commitment between two people” to the toned down and slightly less absurd “marriage has largely been considered a commitment between two people.” However, one has to wonder how such a statement could ever have been published in the first place. The reason is that many in the LGBT community really believe it to be true. How? Could it be that many Americans have had their understanding of what marriage is supposed to look like shaped more by Hollywood than historical fact? To many, marriage is exclusively a matter of falling in love, thus they have neither considered the historical foundations of marriage, nor the long-range impact gay marriage will have on society. The historical facts about marriage in reality (as opposed to made up ones) are as follows:
- The majority of cultures throughout history have defined marriage as the formal union of one man and one woman.
- A minority of cultures throughout history have defined marriage as the formal union of a man and one or more women.
- An infinitesimally small number of cultures throughout history have given some kind of recognition to same-sex unions, but even then, these relationships were primarily pederastic relationships, and even in those cases, these relationships were often abandoned when the older party involved got married to a person of the opposite sex. So, even in these rare instances of recognized or formalized same-sex unions, the union of two people of the same sex was not considered to be on an equal plane to marriage.
The truth is plain, I pray that those at Good As You, and gay activists everywhere, are willing to see it.
Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: adf, alliance defense fund, gay marriage, good as you, homosexuality, polygamy, prop 8, the huffington post