Gay Pride 090Credit: Guillaume Paumier

Homosexuality, or an “[e]xclusive and consistent attraction to same-sex partners”[1] has effected millions of people throughout the generations.  History shows that homosexual tendencies have been present in many different cultures and time periods, yet the term still consists of a strong taboo, especially in Western societies in which religion is a major underlying drive.  Despite the negative views of the subject, and despite the numerous ways homosexuals have been persecuted throughout history, many people still claim some degree of varying sexuality (homosexuality and bisexuality, for example).  This article will attempt to address the misconceptions and causes of this practice and will examine why regulations should not be imposed regarding homosexual behavior, namely in the case of allowing homosexuals to legally marry.

First it is important to note that homosexual behavior has been known to exist for hundreds of years and within many various species.  It wasn’t until the emergence of Christianity some 2000 years ago when sexual liberation was the norm that this changed.  Prior to Christianity, sexual activity was unregulated and allowed for both genders (though mostly men) to experiment with anyone or anything sexually (children, animals, inanimate objects, other people, groups of people, and so on).  Believing that this act would be detrimental to society, the writers of the Bible first aimed to “de-sexualize God and religion”.  "‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ by his will, not through any sexual behavior. This was an utterly radical break with all other religions, and it alone changed human history” [5].  With specific rules now regulating what is and isn’t considered appropriate (much of which surrounded the appropriate context of sexual relations as being between married heterosexual couples specifically for procreation) homosexuals became deviant outcasts.   

Though it is safe to say that homosexuals have suffered from discrimination in countless ways throughout history, the numbers of self-proclaimed homosexuals has not diminished.  The question thus becomes what the ultimate cause of homosexuality is.   Some who oppose homosexual unions stand on the belief that it is caused by environmental factors learned throughout an individual’s lifetime.  Others claim that same-sex attraction is embedded into a person’s genes and therefore should not be subject to discrimination. “At this point the typical argument of whether H[omosexuality] is genetic or environmental can be easily answered as probably either or both, depending on the case; furthermore, evidence for the ‘gay gene’ has never been clear”[2].  Because children learn much about their individual sexuality through interaction with family and peers and through images they absorb via media, excessive exposure to homosexuality might lead to increased homosexual tendencies among youth.  However, one must already possess an underlying urge to sway one direction or the other in order for exposure to homosexuality to have a significant impact on one’s sexual orientation.  With more and more people “coming out”, exposure is up and thus more people feel comfortable openly expressing their preferences. 

Unfortunately, fear of overexposure to homosexuality has many people concerned, so much that it has become a reason to deny marriage or parental rights to homosexuals.  Not only have 32 US states denied homosexuals the right to become legally wed (Neumeister, 2012), but many homosexual parents who have conceived the traditional way must face the fear of having their rights as parents stripped simply because of their sexual preferences.  Law in some states simply requires proof of a parent’s homosexuality in order to revoke custody.  This is termed the per se approach[3] and should be considered unconstitutional given the fact that “a child of gay parents is not more likely to be gay than with heterosexual parents” and other studies “have reported that these children do relatively well”[2].  Homosexuality alone should therefore have no effect in determining whether or not a parent is fit to raise is or her own child or children.

Just as one’s ability to parent should not be determined by such label, so too should it not be allowed to keep two consenting adults from being legally wed and gaining all of the benefits married couples get, including property rights and tax breaks.  This is not the world 2,000 years ago when sexuality was openly unrestrained.  Homosexuals do not choose their lifestyle based on perversion.  When homosexuals wish to get married, it is because of a strong desire to share their lives with one another exclusively.  Also, as studies have shown, allowing homosexuals to attain legal marriages will not increase the occurrences of homosexuality except by showing people that it is not something to be ashamed of.  Great strides have been made including one in which a federal appeals court recently deemed DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act (which defines marriage as a union specifically between a man and a woman), unconstitutional[4].  Hopefully, this is proof that old ideas about the danger and perversion surrounding homosexuality are diminishing.  There is no doubt a long road ahead, but equality for homosexuals is steadily on the rise.