Clevenger Responds to some criticism
I am posting Clev's responses to some criticism for him. Bear in mind that I personally do not agree with him at all on this issue.
I'm jeopardizing my legal practice toget your questions answered. If it sounds like I'm free associating here, it's because I'm trying to deal with about a dozen points...
For those who receive most of their information via the networks and AP, I suggest perusing [this] website . (I don't find the Richard Chamberlain story particularly enlightening, but you'll find material on subjects such as whether or not homosexuality is genetic.) NARTH is a group of dissident mental health professionals who believe homosexuality can be treated.
(B) IS HOMOSEXUALITY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE?
You can find an excellent summary, written by an internist, at this site: Here are a couple of examples (not necessarily from the URL above):
(1) A condition commonly referred to as "gay bowel disease" results from semen penetrating the walls of the intestine and reaking havoc on the immune system (the condition can occur in women who engage in sodomy with a male partner). The intestinal walls, unlike the surrounding tissue of the vagina, are not designed to protect against such penetration (no pun intended).
(2) The incidence of suicide, depression, and substance abuse is substantially higher among homosexuals than the public at large. While gay activists often attribute this to public aversion to homosexuality, cross-cultural studies show that the co-morbidity of homosexuality and depression, etc. is relatively constant. In studies conducted in the 70s, when homosexuality was accepted in the Netherlands but not the U.S., the degree of co-morbidity was roughly equal.
(3) A gay or bisexual male lives an average of 20 years less than a heterosexual male.
(C) WHAT DOES SELF-DESTRUCTIVENESS HAVE TO DO WITH MARRIAGE?
Like it or not, marriage in our culture is the sanctioning of a relationship. While many Americans are willing to "live and let live" on what people do sexually, most are not willing to put the state's imprimatur on all relationships. I'm in favor of drug decriminalization, for example, but that doesn't mean I want the government subsidizing cocaine production.
(D) MIKE'S JEHOVAH'S WITNESS FRIEND
I have great empathy for your friend, Mike. While I do not struggle with that issue personally, I have several Christian friends who do. And I have a struggle of my own that is, I think, somewhat analogous.
I have battled severe depression since my pre-teen years. I inhereted a tendency for depression from my father's. When combined with some unfortunate events in my childhood, my predisposition was triggered and my unpleasant journey began.
You may rightly point out that nobody wants to be depressed (and you are right), while some people may choose to accept their homosexuality. A better example might be someone who suffers from cyclothymia (or an atypical bipolar illness) and decides the hypomanic or manic states are worth the depressive states, so he/she goes off his or her meds. An individual's right to choose is, in my opinion, the most compelling and yet the most complex and troubling issue in situations such as this.
Do I think homosexual people can make a rational choice to engage in homosexual behavior? Yes. But, depending on how one defines rationality, I think people can engage in a lot of behaviors (eating too much, drinking too much, etc.) that ultimately are self-destructive.
This, of course, raises every law school professor's favorite question: where do you draw the line? On one end of the spectrum you can criminalize an activity, on the other end you can sanction and subsidize it. Marriage clearly involves sanction and subsidy (e.g. the tax code) and, as such, I conclude it should not be extended to a behavior that is self-destructive.
Beastiality, necrophilia, etc... Mike, you dismiss these analogies rather blythely, but I suggest they are not so cut-and-dried as you might think. You wrote, "When a man makes love to goat -- you can't say he's not hurting anyone. I can pretty much guarantee you that goat didn't want, well, you know...." Given a choice between being barbecued and
molested, I surmise the goat chooses the latter. I'm about to get really graphic here, but I think you need to follow your logic to its end result. Remember the scene in Cuba from Godfather II (or is it III?) with the donkey and the woman? The donkey isn't getting hurt -- apparently he likes it. So who are you to say that's wrong? Likewise, and as I noted before,
some European countries have lowered the age of consent to twelve. And much of the intelligentsia there supports it. So who are you to say it's wrong to cruise for Lolita? If "traditional morality" cannot inform our modern sexual mores, the line gets very blurred indeed.
Elliot, feel free to cut and paste this to the blog. I've got to get back to work.