Re: July 28 letter from John A. Donnelly, “Society’s Preservation a Way to Define Marriage”
Mr. Donnelly’s letter posits several conclusions for excluding the legalization of homosexual marriage that beg to be challenged. He begins with the notion “homosexuality is an aberration” and as such, according to Webster’s College Dictionary, is “to deviate from a usual and natural standard.”
What is the “usual and natural standard?” Humans possess a wide spectrum of varying inherent physical and mental characteristics so how can any “natural” standard exclude one statistically predictable and natural recurring trait, homosexuality, as a deviation? Is the statistically predictable and natural recurring trait like left-handedness considered a “deviation” as well?
Donnelly moves on the natural law theorists’ cautionary tale when he states that “the ultimate heterosexual human act, intercourse…provides, namely, the preservation of the human race.” In other words, the thrust of his objection to homosexual sex is the absence of procreation, ergo; there will be fewer humans forthcoming in the future. (At least this is a nicer shift from the abomination concept.)
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There are meaningful counter-arguments to the procreation theory and its exclusion of homosexual marriage. If love and mutual support were at the center of the marital relationship, as many think it should be, same-sex couples would meet this standard. So then would not their sexual acts be morally just? What about the sex in an opposite-sex marriage where the partners know one or both are sterile (i.e. seniors) and the relationship is obviously not for procreation purposes?
Surely, it is permissible. Are not oral and anal sex acts practiced in a heterosexual marriage not procreative? Yet, why is the sex in a committed homosexual sex relationship in the same context wrong? The conventions of marriage are socially defined not ordained by a higher power and they should change when not appropriately inclusive. The committed homosexual couples existing today should be able to be allowed the same relationship recognition and legal protections as heterosexual marriages, especially when surrogate or adopted children are involved. Fortunately, social and legal acceptance of homosexual marriages is rising.
As for the preservation of the human race, Donnelly needs to look at the trends in world population numbers to see that the race is doing just fine while, statistically, the percentage of homosexuals is stable at a level that surely will not impede the numbers of heterosexuals out there being fruitful and multiplying.
The writer lives in Pawleys Island.