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I’m not a bigot, it’s nature! August 20, 2010

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Equality, Ethics, Evolution.
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In Haaretz, Yair Sheleg rejects the approach that seeks to confer on same-sex couples the same “moral and social status” that straight couples have,

first and foremost because nature itself has done just that. That only heterosexual love is capable of bringing progeny into the world reflects the fact that creation, whether in its divine or its evolutionary form, has determined this to be the normative type of sexuality. Even in an era that seeks to divorce sexuality from procreation, the ability to produce children does retain its value, just as the concept of a “normative family” remains valid.

This reasoning is so bad it’s embarrassing. First of all, the fact that something is natural doesn’t automatically make it morally good. As far as evolution is concerned, all means justify the end of maximizing progeny, but evolution is a mindless process with no foresight or intention. We, as conscious, thinking beings, are in no way obligated to value something just because it’s a product of natural selection. Rape, for example, may be a good evolutionary strategy for getting more of your genes into the next generation, and coercive sex is a well-documented phenomenon in many species (dolphins, for instance). Does that mean we should treat rape as normative behavior? Conversely, there is nothing more unnatural than birth control — does Sheleg consider contraceptive use to be immoral?

In any case, the “moral and social status” of couples in our society has nothing to do with their ability to produce offspring. We do not label as “non-normative” straight couples who cannot have children, or those who choose not to. In the current state of our over-populated planet, not having kids is certainly a respectable decision, especially since there’s no shortage of children in need of adoption (which gay couples can do just as well as straight couples).

Since there aren’t actually any good reasons for treating same-sex couples differently from heterosexual couples, where did Sheleg’s prejudice come from? Notice the not-so-subtle (and nonsensical) reference to “creation, whether in its divine or its evolutionary form.” You see, it’s not only nature that’s against homosexuality — it’s God himself! If Sheleg is taking his moral instruction directly from the collected ramblings of superstitious Iron Age men, he should at least come out and be explicit about it.

(via Religion and State in Israel)

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