Duke University…one of the top research institutions in this country, arguably the top university in the South….

This article was in their daily newspaper, The Chronicle:

I’ve seen a lot of gay pride recently, what with coming-out day, those “love=love” Duke University Union shirts and J.K. Rowling’s decision to out Dumbledore (forcing all children aware of the fact to view the hoary father figure in terms of his hidden sexual attractions).

But is there any reason to be proud of one’s sexual identity? Webster says that pride consists in reasonable or justifiable self-respect. Suppose sexual identity is genetic. My race is genetic too; should I be proud because I’m white? How about my incidental preferences: What if I like flowers (don’t worry, I hate them)-should this make me proud?

Of course not. Nor should being heterosexual or homosexual. And it does no good to pretend otherwise, because building up a framework of meaningless self-respect is a recipe for emotional disaster. Our pride ought to be based in admirable things-the sacrifices we’ve made, the good we’ve done, the moral state of our character; and it should always be coupled with humility. When it is built on things to which the word “respect” has no coherent application, such as sexual inclination, it will eventually collapse.

Apart from the inherent respect of being human, we merit and demerit respect by our actions.

But “gay pride,” like “white pride,” is a mockery of real pride. Rather than seeking respect on account of one’s merits, it demands respect on account of one’s sexual lifestyle. This is simple arrogance. It says that we cannot judge the actions of others, but demands that we respect them. No one has any right to place that puerile demand on you, because these are precisely the judgments required to lead a moral life. As a human being you have every obligation to judge right from wrong, and every right to judge gay “sex” wrong.

Yet respect for the sexual lifestyle of gays is demanded of us every day. I refuse to give it the respect its practitioners unjustifiably demand (just as I’ve scorned heterosexual fornication), but for this I will be called a bigot and a homophobe. Mark it carefully, though, because calumny is a form of bullying, an attempt to intimidate those who disagree, and thus to silence rational discourse rather than engage it. For I neither hate nor fear homosexuals, and I would never tolerate either disposition.

I do discriminate, however, because discrimination is the knife of reason, with which we separate right from wrong. The gay movement ought to be judged, like any other movement, by the actions and demands of its members-many of which involve legal unions.

The simple argument in favor of gay unions is on DUU’s vacuous T-shirt: “love=love,” after all, so shouldn’t all consensual and loving unions between two adults be treated equally?

Yet just taking consensual love, the philosopher recognizes its disparate forms, some bad, some good. And this says nothing of marriage. To treat homosexual “union” as marriage-even just in terms of rights and privileges-is to fake equality between two fundamentally unequal relationships. It would demand that we remain utterly indiscriminate, and utterly ignorant of the reasons why the rights and privileges of marriage exist.

Now I’m not in the business of abandoning reason, so let’s discriminate between a few things.

The social basis of marriage is procreation. As former diplomat Alan Keyes observed, throughout history marriage has been institutionalized solely to “regulate the obligations and responsibilities attendant upon procreation.” It’s designed to safeguard the family, which is to say the children, not to validate the feelings of love between two individuals. These are the terms of its existence, which alone justify the rights and privileges extended by the state.

Marriage is possible between a man and a woman because between them procreation is always possible in principle (with regard to the essence of the participants, which is unaffected by accidents like infertility).

Marriage is impossible between two men or two women because between them procreation is impossible in principle. The call for gay marriage is a call to redefine marriage so that its natural, historical, legal and cultural basis is irrelevant. But then so is its institution. It would be akin to changing the legal definition of adulthood to between the ages of 0 and 100. Thus many gays demand an institution that will become meaningless if they obtain it.

But marriage must exist. If nothing else, our laws must promote the general welfare. Normal, stable families-the building blocks of normal, stable societies-are absolutely necessary for the welfare of the state. Without children we would be lost in a generation. The government has every right and duty to encourage families, because the declivity of the family spells the declivity of the state, as it always has in the past.

That’s not to say that heterosexuals always have normal, natural families, but homosexuals never do, because homosexual families are unnatural and, by definition, abnormal. Nor are homosexuals entitled to children-no one is. Children are not a right; they are a responsibility gifted to and placed upon us, and part of our duty to them is to provide stable families.

One cannot define marriage by some arbitrary idea, like love, because then marriage can be anything one wants it to be-and that means nothing at all. Proponents of gay marriage disregard thousands of years of cultural and legal development on a whim, opening the door wide to other disasters, like polygamy. This is something our society, the rebellious child of human industry that it is, despite its lack of education and decency, and thinking itself too enlightened to bother with the wisdom of the past, might just be willing to do. But it may not and will not command our respect.

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