Up till about the year 2000, great thinkers throughout human history – and from every political community – thought it reasonable and right to view marriage as the union of husband and wife. 1
But today, a serious attempt is well under way to define opposition to same-sex marriage as nothing more than irrational bigotry.
This is done by equating the push for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement.
America’s civil rights movement fought on basis that racial minorities deserve equal rights. No one should have “less rights” because of their colour.
The movement heralded a new America on a moral argument. It was one of the most historic, celebrated, moral breakthroughs of the American society.
Same-sex marriage activsits are quick to equate their push for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement. Coining the term, “marriage equality,” they suggest that same-sex couples are denied the right to marry, hence, discriminated on basis of their “sexual orientation.”
In legislating for same-sex marriage in 2015, America’s Supreme Court compares the ban on same-sex couples marrying – with the ban on interracial marriages during the civil rights movement. Dissenting Judge Samuel Alito warns:
“In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent. 1
Indeed, if something as bad as racism or discrimination is presumed to be behind dissenters’ objection to same-sex marriage, dark days lie ahead.
But are dissenters of same-sex marriage akin to racists?
It all depends on whether “sexual orientation” is equitable to race.
- Conceptually Different: Sexual Orientation is linked to actions; Race is not
Ryan Anderson argues that sexual orientation and race are “conceptually different.” He draws the distinction at how one is linked to actions, while the other is not:
“[S]exual orientation and gender identity are linked to actions, which are a proper subject matter for moral evaluation, and race is not.. Race implies nothing about one’s actions. But in practice, sexual orientation and gender identity terms are frequently used with reference to a person’s actions.” 1
Race, straightforwardly, is a natural, physical quality. It is unchanging. A Chinese remains a Chinese throughout his lifetime. Race does not imply actions. If a Chinese commits theft, we cannot say it is because of him being Chinese that made him do it. There would be no justification in such a statement.
Sexual orientation, on the other hand, is subjective and ambiguous. It is a psychological quality, without observable physical traits. It also has implications on behaviours. For example, a homosexual orientation implies that same-sex relationships, and homosexual sex acts, are preferred.
Race does not imply any actions. So unlike race, sexual orientation is linked to actions.
- Conceptually Different: Race is innate; Sexual Orientation is not
Race is something we are born with. We can be Chinese, Malay, India, Arab, Caucasian from birth. Is sexual orientation something we are born with as well? Are some born heterosexuals, while others are born homosexuals? In other words, is there truth to the claim that some are “born gay?”
Historically, even Alfred Kinsey, known as the “father” of the sexual revolution, didn’t dare claim that homosexuals are born that way. Alfred Kinsey, who had claimed in 1948, that 37% of all men had homosexual sexual encounters, 6 is incredibly modest in his claims of the number of homosexuals born this way. When asked how they “got that way,” he wrote in his book, that only 9% claimed to have been born gay. 2
Nearly the same percentage answered the same way in a 1970 study among 979 gays in San Francisco.2
Unlike today, born this way was hardly a dominant view a generation ago.
What caused the change?
Basically, in the 1990s, various media sources trumpeted specific studies and headlined claims that genetic links deterministic of the homosexual orientation have been found.
The studies included Simon LeVay’s analysis of the brain (1991), twin study (1991); and Dean Hammer’s research on the Xq28 gene (1993).2
However, the repetitive nature expected of the outcomes of these hypothesis – if they are scientifically true – was never observed. Later on, researchers of these studies have themselves admitted that nothing genetically deterministic of homosexuality was found.
The media never clarified.
However, while public opinion might have been misled by the media, the twin study eventually provided scientific consensus that homosexuality is a more of a result of nuture, rather than nature.
Twin studies looked at samples of twins. Identical twins are 100% identical genetically.
So if homosexuality is 100% inborn, it would mean if a sibling of a pair of identical twin is same-sex attracted, the other co-twin sibling MUST BE same-sex attracted as well.
With this, researchers predit concordance rates i.e. when both siblings of a twin pair are gays.
Concordance rates are expected to be 100% if homosexuality is completely inborn.
As studies begin to improve in representation sizes and methodology, concordance rates dropped correspondingly: 11% for males and 14% for females (Australia, 2000); 3 7.7% for males and 5.3% for females (U.S., 2002).4
The results i.e. concordance rates far lower than 100%, meant that nurture, rather than nature, is overwhelmingly the responsible agent, for bringing about same-sex attraction tendencies.
But the most telling argument of whether gays are “born this way” lie in this question: If homosexuality is 100% genetic, how did the gene survive till now?
Insisting homosexuality is 100% inborn is like insisting infertility is 100% genetic.
Infertility means – the inability to produce offsprings. If a couple is infertile, no offsprings can ever be born by them. Should infertility be 100% genetic, this gene would die off in one generation of human evolution.
Likewise, if homosexuals are 100% born that way, and they cannot help but keep to same-sex partners, how could this gene be passed down over the long evolutionary history of mankind?
Some may argue – perhaps a percentage of them conform to social norms and married opposite sex partners.
However, even if you assume fifty percent of homosexuals doing that, and everyone of them producing one homosexual child among their offsprings, and a human evolutionary history of only fifty generations, mathematically, that would mean – even if there is just one pair of homosexuals left on earth today, there would have been 1.125 zillion homosexuals fifty generations ago!
“250 = 1,125,899,906,842,624!!!”
That’s 180,000 times the whole world’s population today!
The point I am making is simple, but overlooked. It is philosophically fallacious, mathematically impossible that gays are 100% born that way – considering the long evolutionary history of mankind, and the “anti-procreation” nature of the “gay gene.”
Therefore, be it from history, science and philosophy, we can conclude that sexual orientation is not innate like race. No one is “born gay.”
Equating the push for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement is ignorance at best, insiduous at worst. Sexual orientation is not the same as race, and sexual minorities are not the same as racial classes deserving of special protection or rights. Everybody is already equally protected under our law. If we persist in giving unproven rights based on unproven claims, e.g. “marriage equality,” we may end up robbing the proven rights of all others. PM Lee wisely clarified in his 2007 Parliament speech to uphold 377A,
“Nor do we consider homosexuals a minority in the sense that we consider, say, Malays and Indians as minorities, with minority rights protected under the law.”
Here and then, we would still hear of persons misinformed, touting the propaganda idea of how homosexuality is innate and “sexual minorities” are deprived of their rights. Now that we know, it becomes our role to clarify falsehood.
- Ryan Anderson, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.”
- John S.H. Tay, “Born Gay: Examining the Scientific Evidence for Homosexuality.”
- Michael Bailey, Michael P. Dunne & Nicholas G. Martin, Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orientation and Its Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample(Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, Vol 78(3), pp 524-536)
- Peter S. Bearman & Hannah Brückner, Opposite-Sex Twins and Adolescent Same-Sex Attraction (American Journal of Sociology, 2002, Vol 107(5), pp 1179-1205)
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