October 18, 2003

Bill Bennett - What Nature Joins Let No Gays Put Asunder

The gays are coming, the gays are coming!!

I’ve just finished reading a bilious bit of tripe by Bill Bennett called “What Nature Joins Let No Gays Put Asunder” (Times Commentary, 10/17/03) and I just can’t comprehend how I’ve managed to remain happily married (to a woman no less) for the last 24 years without appreciating the danger to this institution posed by the iniquitous and injurious (da, da, dummmm) Gay Community. Believe it or not, these depraved individuals are supporting a commitment between two individuals who love each other, along with the legal and societal recognition thereof. What’s next, countless years of unmitigated happiness and productive community involvement? The scoundrels!

If Bennett could conjure up a thundering basso profundo and a bit of spastic gesticulation this diatribe would play in a revival tent. What should not have to be said, though, is that although there is an unspoken "The Bible says..." that precedes most of Bennett’s whines and snipes, there are a great many of us who would ask that he provide just a little more in the way of logical or evidential support.

Even a passing nod to dialectical consistency would help. In an early paragraph Bennett writes,
"It would in no way strengthen marriage to redefine it by embracing gay marriage."
But in the immediately preceding paragraph he opines wistfully about the damage to marriage due to loss of numbers,
“Battered by divorce, eroded by rising rates of cohabitation,”
Call me farblondzhet but wouldn’t the addition of gay marriages help to stem that tide?

He also indulges in some tortured logic that begins with the suggestion that homosexual marriage will imperil sexual identity (imagine waves of sexual ambiguity sweeping over the land leaving all in a hormonal fog, unsure of which gender they should choose to lust after) and ends with the conclusion that polygamy, incest, and other undesirable forms of sexual invention will ensue.

Bennett’s lack of biological acumen is evident, as is his lack of common decency. His piece is liberally (sorry) sprinkled with phrases such as "...it is the purpose of our human sexuality...", and "There is a natural sexual order, a proper order for love..." These kinds of statements are as empirically vacuous as they are demonstrably bigoted. Another example of this spurious argumentation ends with a kicker,
“To recognize homosexuality requires us to deny that man linked to woman is both natural and ideal - it is the purpose of our human sexuality – and to affirm the aberrant view that sexuality is an arbitrary construct and choice.”
Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it those of Bennett’s ilk that have been insisting that sexual orientation is a choice? Maybe he can get back to us on this one.

Haven’t we gotten past this kind of hollow sermonizing? The demonization of homosexuality in general and the subsequent demagoguery of the homosexual marriage issue in particular are the most indefensible of current political and philosophical positions. It cannot be put any plainer than this, homosexual marriage hurts no one. It infringes upon nobody’s prerogatives, it inconveniences not a soul. Any suggestions to the contrary that I have heard, including Bennett’s drivel, amount to little more than rationalization of prejudice motivated by bruised sensibilities.

It's obvious that gay marriage causes genuine discomfort for some, but if that were legitimate criteria for denial of simple human rights then we would live in a very different society. One in which I suspect all of us, including Bennett, would have cause to fear the brand of invective he delivers in this article.


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