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Discussion of gay rights

Observer Viewpoint | Monday, October 3, 2005

I’m more than willing to grant Jacob Zipfel’s suggestion that the anti-homosexual passages in the Bible are still relevant. Not that I necessarily agree with his analysis, but when it comes to the issue of legalizing gay marriage, whether the Bible says homosexuality is wrong or not is irrelevant. Religious justifications for discrimination are never adequate. The secular reasoning Mr. Zipfel hides in the middle of his discussion of demagoguery, however, leaves much to be desired.

Mr. Zipfel suggests that “Homosexuals do have the exact same rights as heterosexuals. A man can marry a woman, and a woman can marry a man … What the gay rights movement is attempting to do is to create a new right. Redefining marriage to allow same sexes is to change the very definition of what marriage has historically been.” Certainly, however, this is equivalent to claiming before interracial marriage was legal because even people attracted to members of different races had equal rights, everybody had the right to marry a person of the opposite gender and the same race. Don’t like the analogy to race? How about going back even further to a truly traditional definition of marriage, that is, when you could only marry within your socioeconomic class? Certainly, it is absurd to claim those who were attracted to members of a different social class had the same rights then. After all, everybody could marry someone of the opposite gender, provided that they were of the same race and same class. There is no notion, then, of creating new rights for homosexuals here, merely extending marriage to allow greater equality under the law, just as has been done repeatedly in the past.

Mr. Zipfel then suggests that the logical extension of the argument for same-sex marriage, that is, that there must be some check on the majority to allow for basic freedoms, is to allow NAMBLA the legalization of sex with 6 year old boys (I have to admit, a month and a half ago I never thought I’d be discussing NAMBLA in my first editorial letter). There are a few fundamental differences. Mr. Zipfel is right that majority rule in America, or any “democracy” is essential to stopping NAMBLA’s claims. The exception to majority rule, however, comes when enforcing the will of the majority has such a disparate impact that it limits the fundamental rights of the minority. Allowing gay marriage has no significant negative social impacts, while disallowing it blatantly tells homosexuals they are inferior and treats them as such. NAMBLA’s claims, on the other hand, have considerable social impacts, certainly, at least, on the 6-year-old boy who is unable to fully consider the impacts of having sex with a full-grown man.

So there you have it, Mr. Zipfel, respectful discussion of the issues at hand. Let’s have at it.

Andrew NesifreshmanMorrisseyOct. 2