JeremyY posted an important post over on YAR
which I wanted to respond to, but unfortunately the comments have been closed. Please have a look over there to see what it was all about.
If you were to ask the professor the qualitative difference between 'being gay' and 'being black' he might say that 'being black' is something that happens to you at birth, whereas 'being gay' is a lifestyle choice you take on at some point in your life. I don't know, maybe I am putting words into his mouth.
For many people, anal sex (for example) is just fundamentally wrong because the anus is not for that function and the vagina is. So if your professor believes that the essence of being gay is the desire to do something which he characterises as 'anatural' then he puts that on a different level to being black. Of course, there are many others who believe that their sexuality is part of their being and not something they take on by 'doing' anything in particular.
The problem is, as correctly pointed out above, that this identification of behavioural sin has led to numerous injustices against gay people by the church - which would not be acceptable if they were against other groups.
And I guess what I want to say is this: it is OK to believe that other people's behaviour is sinful and/or unacceptable. I can think of a huge pile of things which I find unacceptable in other religious traditions, for example.
What is not OK is to deny me the rights and privileges you enjoy because - and only because - you find my actions abhorrent. Society functions largely because people ignore the things they find abhorrent in others, how are you deciding that this particular aspect of my life is more abhorrent than anything else? If you are going to deny gays an equivalent legal instrument to recognise long term fidelity, are you also going to deny the reality of Hindu marriage because you find some of their rituals disgusting?
We need to reframe the discussion so that it no longer revolves around the level of offence some people feel about other people's behaviour.
Once we have done that, we need to carefully listen to the needs and hurts of gay people and attempt to meet their demands where they are legitimate and constructive, which I believe they mostly are.
Labels: gay rights, homosexuality