The gay debate

Many of the reasons people oppose gay marriage are based on the assumption that gays have a choice in who they are attracted to, but the reality is quite different, according to O.J.

Many people believe that homosexual people could simply choose to be heterosexual if they wished. But the reality is that very few have a choice, any more than very few heterosexuals could choose who they are attracted to. Being gay is much more profound than simply a sexual relationship; being gay is part of that person's core identity, and goes right to the very centre of his being. It's like being black in a

society of whites, or a blonde European in a nation of black-haired Asians. This is something that few heterosexuals can understand unless they are a minority themselves.

A lot of people have raised arguments against gay marriage, even our President. He recently raised the issue in Shurugwi at Unki Mine. There is a lot of debate on the topic and these are just some of the arguments that people use against homosexuality:

1. Marriage is an institution between one man and one woman

This is the most often heard argument, yet it is easily the weakest. Who gets to define marriage? The married? The marriable? Isn't that kind of like allowing a banker to decide who is going to own the money in his vaults? It seems to me that if the straight community cannot show a compelling reason to deny the institution of marriage to gay people, it shouldn't be denied. These declarations are hardly a compelling reason, they're really more like an expression of prejudice than any kind of a real argument.

2. Marriage is for procreation

The proponents of that argument are really hard pressed to explain why, if that's the case, infertile couples are allowed to marry.

3. Same-sex couples aren't the optimum environment in which to raise children

Murderers, convicted felons and even known child molesters are allowed to freely marry and procreate, and do so every day, with hardly a second thought by these same critics. If children are truly the priority here, why is this allowed? Why are the advocates of this argument not working to prohibit the above categories of people from raising children? The fact is, many gay couples raise children, adopted and occasionally their own, from failed attempts at heterosexual marriages. Lots and lots of scientific studies have shown that the outcomes of the children raised in the homes of gay and lesbian couples are just as good as those of straight couples. What makes the difference is the love of the parents, not their gender.

4. Gay relationships are immoral

Says who? The Bible? Somehow, I always thought that freedom of religion implied the right to freedom from religion as well. The Bible has absolutely no standing in Zimbabwean law and because it doesn't, no one has the right to impose rules on anyone else simply because of something they perceive to be mandated by the Bible. Not all world religions have a problem with homosexuality. In that sense, their religious freedom is being infringed. If one believes in religious freedom, the recognition that opposition to gay marriage is based on religious arguments is reason enough to discount this argument.

5. Marriage ensures the continuation of the species

The proponents of such an argument are going to have a really hard time persuading me that the human species is in any real danger of dying out through lack of procreation. If the 10 or less percent of the human race that is gay were to suddenly refrain from procreation, I think it is safe to say that the world would probably be better off. One of the world's most serious problems is overpopulation and the increasing anarchy that is resulting from it. It seems to me that gays would be doing the world a favour by not bringing more hungry mouths into an already overburdened world. Let's face it – marriage is about love and commitment, and support for that commitment, not about procreation.

The arguments against gay marriage don't hold up to close scrutiny. Neither the arguments traditionally raised, nor the real feelings of the opponents make much sense when held up to the light of reason. So let's get on with it. Let's get over our aversion to what we oppose for silly, irrational reasons, based on ignorance and faulty assumptions, and make ours a more just and honourable society. – O.J.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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