SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


RE: Hate, Greed, and Fear
By Alex McDonald


November 03, 2006

Growing up in Ketchikan, I know the general consensus regarding homosexuality in my community and home state. Recently in a class, I was assigned to create a presentation on GLBT issues (that s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender, by the way). My conclusions remained largely the same, but the facts I have gathered have only strengthened my position. Therefore, I'm curious as to why it seems so many people in one of the most amazing places on earth hold to this consensus. The intelligent Hate, Greed, and Fear letters and responses by Robert Freedland and Steven McLaren sparked me to write this letter.

First, let me assert that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. Immediately when I say this, people will jump to say just how unnatural homosexuality is. To those who claim this, I ask you to review the scientific facts. For example:

"Male gorillas court and couple with each other, grizzly bear families have two mothers, male swans form pair-bonds with one another and female long-eared hedgehogs have oral sex. In this book homosexual behaviour is documented in over 450 species of animals.

Species include primates, marine mammals, hoofed mammals, carnivores, marsupials, rodents and insectivores, waterfowl & other aquatic birds, wading birds, shore birds, perching birds and Songbirds and other birds, on every continent and ocean. All observed in the wild, not including any zoo observations."

"Biological Exuberance" by Bruce Bagemihl, PhD in Biogeography

The American Heritage Dictionary defines natural as, "Present in or produced by nature. As is evident, homosexuality does exist in nature". The "natural" argument falls flat on its face.

I've seen countless refutations of this similar to, "By this logic, why don't we allow people to marry their dogs, or be able to marry six other people?" This is not what I am asserting, and this straw man argument is a logical fallacy. Once again, to deny TWO (2) CONSENTING adults the right to form a legal union is ridiculous and ethically indefensible. It is ethically indefensible to deny homosexuals access to their partners deathbeds in hospitals because they're not married. It is ethically indefensible to deny homosexual partners the right to make medical decisions for their partners. It is ethically indefensible to force a homosexual couple to testify against one another when a heterosexual couple harbors this right. All of these would apply to a homosexual couple that has been in a loving, caring relationship for 25 years yet a heterosexual couple who have known each other for 3 months would be granted all these rights.

Nor will I assert civil unions, in their various forms. Our country has already decided that "separate but equal" is not OK. Yet again, there are those to refute this argument by stating some argument involving the sanctity of marriage. I think those people fail to mention the current statistics regarding marriage and divorce. Many couples marry for the wrong reasons. Depending on your source, current divorce rates range from 40-50%; marriage simply isn t the institution it used to be. (This, in part, is due to another one of those pesky movements known as feminism, which advocates gender equality. Heaven forbid, we all know God made Adam first not to mention the root word of evil being Eve.)

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack synthesized these two thoughts quite well when he said, I personally don't think it's fair for Britney Spears, who was married for 51 hours to some guy in Las Vegas, to have more rights than someone who's been committed to another person for 25 years.

In response to the enormous financial burden our nation would bear for allowing homosexual marriage, I offer a study by The Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies at UCLA stating, The Congressional Budget Office found that allowing same-sex couples to marry would boost federal income tax revenues by $400 million per year til the end of this decade, mainly because of the so-called marriage penalty. Social security payments would rise over time, as would spending on spousal health insurance benefits for federal workers. Other expenditure items would be much lower, however, since spending on Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) would fall. The net impact would be a federal budget savings of nearly $1 billion per year.

The myth still exists that homosexuals and bisexuals make up nearly all molestation cases. This was exemplified when the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, Loren Leman, responded to a question of mine, referring to the immorality of homosexuality. He cited an article stating, "Although almost all child molesters are male and less than 3% of men are homosexual, about a third of all child sex abuse cases involve men molesting boys--and in one study, 86% of such men identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual."

The facts, however, present quite a different picture. According to the October 5, 2006 issue of Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 98% of molested males and 99.6% of molested girls are victims of Heterosexuals.

According to the Human Rights Coalition:
85% of Americans under 30 support employment equality and inclusive hate crime laws.
63% of Americans under 30 support civil unions.
Yet only 48% of Americans voted in the last election.

However, I remain optimistic. Western society has seen extraordinary progress in the societal shift regarding homosexuality. On a track meet in British Columbia, I saw official school signs posted throughout the High School stating, Homophobia is just as bad as racism. When my generation and those generations before me begin to age and more and more participate in the democratic process, things are bound to change.

So why the negative views against GLBTs, then?

This is the part where I could state that most people who currently oppose homosexual marriage 50 years ago would have opposed interracial marriage. But I'd hate to employ the same straw-man tactic used by my opponents, because it is a logical fallacy, i.e. it holds no weight.

Western religion has and continues to deface homosexuality as an abhorrent sin and abomination. Codifying this view disregards the fact that we as a secular nation have erected, as Thomas Jefferson famously stated in his Danbury letter, a wall of separation between church and state. It also blatantly ignores The First Amendment, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion Therefore, to offer religious reasons as a basis to deny people their rights should be rejected.

As a side note, Dr. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, has admitted that the church has been guilty of being caught up with the idea that sexual sins were "more significant" than other sins and has said that instead we should think more in terms of global problems such as world poverty. (Peter Singer, How Are We to Live?, page 16).

What astonished me the most while doing this project were the statistics regarding the youth of this country. Two statistics in particular, 40% of homeless youth identify as GLBT [almost always because their family rejects their choice ] 30% of youth suicides identify as GLBT. These unchecked religious morals have shaped a homophobic society resulting in the death and homelessness of thousands of youth a year across the nation. Things will almost certainly change in the future but the real question is: can we change now?

Call me an optimist, but I have hope.

I'd like to close this overly long letter with a quote by Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., who once said, "I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr. said, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Alex McDonald
Forest Grove, OR

About: "Born and raised in Ketchikan, currently advocating change and attending college."



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