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The Gay Marriage Controversy

A Dispassionate Look at One of the Most Controversial Issues of the 21st Century

There can be few topics likely to elicit such a broad range of opinion as that of homosexuality. At one end of the spectrum, at the time of writing - 2015 - the governments of some countries are debating proposals to legalise marriage between homosexuals (Ireland voted to do so some weeks ago). At the other, in some other countries, a successful conviction of homosexuality still carries the possibility of the death sentence, carried out by such gruesome means as public beheading or stoning.

So what are the arguments in favour of and against homosexual marriage, and what are the hopes of such a thing ever coming be accepted in the same way heterosexual marriage is?

In my view, in order to know whether or not homosexual marriage is something human society ought to have, we have to ascertain whether or not homosexuality itself is a natural phenomenon. If it is, perhaps homosexual marriage is something we ought to have, just as many societies now have interracial and inter-ethnic marriage whereas not long ago, they didn't.

Trere are some simple criteria which we can use to judge whether homosexuality is a natural phenomenon or whether it is socially conditioned:

Firstly, if it were a natural phenomenon, we could expect to find homosexuality throughout the natural world, and to a similar degree as we find it in human society. However, we do not hear David Attenborough telling us. "About 3% of male Nile crocodiles think and behave is if they were female", or "Of course, many female giraffes in east Africa enter into courtship rituals with other female giraffes". Sorry if these examples seem absurd, but that's because the notion itself is absurd; it is of course, blatantly obvious that such aberrations would be one in a million occurrences, if they existed at all. Even in our closest relatives, other primates like chimpanzees and gorillas, we don't find homosexuality at all.

Secondly, if it were a natural phenomenon, we could expect the incidence to be more or less uniform throughout the world. However, what we see is an incidence that varies wildly from country to country, being a high as 4% in some countries where homosexuality is actively approved of by the government or society at large, and close to non-existent in countries where it is actively discouraged.

Thirdly, if it were a natural phenomenon, we could expect it to be as prevalent in females as in males. However, in reality the proportion of male homosexuals is much higher than that of lesbians, for reasons that I will outline below.

Finally, while I consider it evident that homosexuality is socially conditioned in the vast majority of cases, I should add that there are a tiny number of babies born who unfortunately do not have distinctly male or female genitals. Naturally, if more distinctly gender-specific characteristics do not develop subsequently, these confused individuals may became homosexuals, and these are the only ones who could be considered congenitally homosexual. In most cases, these individuals could only be effectively treated through surgery, not psychological counselling.

"I feel like a woman in a man's body"

This is a claim often heard, one likely to elicit feelings of sympathy for the homosexual. It almost seems to say that this person is not a man, he only seems like a man. In reality, this is a woman born into the wrong body.

Unfortunately, the very notion is highly dubious. If a man claims to feel like a woman in a man's body, then the next question which would logically follow is a "A woman's what in a man's body?"

A woman's soul, or spirit, perhaps? Well, hold on a minute - there isn't a religion or spiritual discipline on the planet which divides souls into male and female. Only the physical body has a sex, the soul is beyond that.

What is much more likely meant is a female personality, not a male personality. And personality is the result of social conditioning; it is something acquired and developed, not something innate. Which seems to say, that this person has been brought, either by his own volition, or/and the encouragement of others in society to the point where he feels like a female personality, yet is still stuck with a male body. That doesn't imply that there is anything natural or innate about his feelings that he is a woman and not a man.

We can see then that the biological argument in support of homosexuality is a weak one.

And if a male can be brought by environmental circumstances to feeling that he is a female (or a female to feeling that she is in fact male), the same process can be reversed. In other words, in most cases, homosexual tendencies are socially conditioned, and can be cured.

The reason this isn't easily achieved easily is because the tendency towards homosexuality is something which in most cases begins early in life and by the time an adult - perhaps even an adult in late middle age - tries to reverse the process, the notion that he is a 'woman in a man's body' is so firmly established in his mind that it renders his efforts to do this virtually useless, reinforcing the misconception that his homosexuality is innate.

How Homosexuality Develops

In the vast majority of cases, homosexual tendencies begin with the deliberate mimicry of behaviour typically associated with the opposite sex, almost invariably in adolescence. This may include overtly sexual behaviour or may be limited to mere adoption of opposite sex mannerisms.

In all cases, there is a catalystic event or series of events which lead to the development of homosexual or pseudo-homosexual behaviour. The nature of these events are complex and varied. Repeated rejections of approaches to the opposite sex, deliberate or accidental misguidance by adults, even just a desire to make an expression of defiant difference. In many cases of lesbianism, it is brutal treatment (sexual or otherwise) by males.

Without doubt, however, a desire to escape the responsibilities of manhood has traditionally been one of the biggest forces driving young males towards a pretence of homosexuality. While sex equality legislation has done much to put women on an equal footing with men in the developed world, in general the life of a man has always been, and continues to be, harder and shorter than the life of a woman. Most physically demanding and dangerous jobs are done mostly by men, even in first-world countries. And even in physically undemanding jobs, men suffer more psychological pressure in terms of providing financially for their families than women do.

Until adolescence, girls and boys are subject to similar degrees of pressure to perform academically. For teenagers, however, this changes. Boys carry the hopes of their parents - particularly their fathers - to perform well enough academically to ensure a place in college or university, or at least some form of vocational training which will allow them to secure a regular income after finishing their education. A good-looking girl who fails miserably in every high school exam she takes and doesn't stand a cat in hell's chance of getting into university, may still easily avoid a life of poverty and limitation providing she knows how to use her good looks.

But perhaps the most unwelcome pressure for an adolescent male is that which comes with the prospect of compulsory military service, and there can be few prospects as foreboding. While at the time of writing (2015), only 64 countries retained compulsory military service (of which only 6 included conscription for females), prior to the end of the Cold War that number was much higher, and even included most of Western Europe. Even today, homosexuality will (in theory) exempt you from military service in 46 countries, but a few decades ago, almost no military in the world allowed homosexuals to serve (even the United States prohibited homosexuals from serving at the time of the Vietnam War). What often begins as a desperate escape route can quickly develop into behaviour difficult to change.

'Hardwired' is a term often used in computer and electronic technology. If a function is hardwired, it cannot be re-programmed. In neurology, however, there is no such absolute delineation; almost anything can be reprogrammed. However, there are degrees of plasticity, and over time certain behaviour or certain mannerisms, for example, can be so firmly established that they seem almost to be hardwired. Additionally, as we age, our neurological pathways lose a lot of their plasticity, making change increasingly difficult as we get older - though never impossible.

The fact that homosexual tendencies are something that almost always begin in adolescence can make them seem as hardwired as walking and talking (and by the way, even these seemingly innate abilities are not innate at all) by the time a person is even in his mid-20s. This is main reason that such people can easily strike us as being 'a woman in a man's body' (or vice versa).

But these changes can be reversed, and I do remember reading about a group of doctors in the United States, where homosexuality rates are among the highest in the world, who had had a remarkable degree of success doing just that.

Treatment, not Votes

My opinions towards homosexuality and homosexual marriage occupy a middle ground in the world view of the issue. I believe the human rights of homosexuals are the same as the human rights of anyone else, and they need to be respected. I also believe that making homosexuality illegal is as absurd as making it illegal to be a manic depressive or schizophrenic.

The condition is a fact, regardless of how it developed. But holding referendums on homosexual marriage are not the answer either. The news media in first-world states is overwhelmingly pro-'gay rights', and the vast majority of fair or modern-minded heterosexuals will be easily swayed to voting in favour of homosexual marriage. This is because in most European or Western countries, the issue is misconstrued to be a human rights or social rights issue. It isn't. This is a psychological illness, and that is primarily where governments should be using their resources.

Today, many countries in the world regard homosexuality as a mental illness. And by the way, these countries include many Christian nations throughout the Americas, and are by no means limited to Muslim states. Until 1973, even the United States recognised homosexuality as a mental illness. It should be pointed out, however, that this is not a serious or dangerous mental illness, but it is, nevertheless, a psychological aberration, harmful primarily to the sufferer.

Some countries have realized that in the case of homosexuality, a stitch in time can save 900. Malaysia, for example, has a system for identifying symptoms of homosexual behaviour in school-age adolescents and nipping the problem in the bud. The incidence of homosexuality in that country is far lower than in its northern neighbour, Thailand, which lacks the motivation to do anything about homosexuality, and so suffers a higher-than-average incidence.

But, as stated earlier, we know that in almost all cases, the problem begins in adolescence. If a homosexual can be guided back in time to successfully and precisely identify the time when he or she began to deviate, often that will be all that is needed. In many cases, even homosexuals in late middle age (very old people rarely have any sexual energy left but even those in their 60s are not beyond help) have been successful in recognising the point at which they began to adopt homosexual behaviour - after which, the homosexual behaviour and mannerisms fall away, and then the desire for homosexual relationships falls away too.

To Be or Not To Be?

Still, we are left with the question: Should homosexual unions be recognised as legal marriages? Even with effective treatment programmes, there will always be some people who refuse treatment, or do not respond to treatment. Any mature and civilised society should be able to provide for every member of society - so, should these people be allowed to marry each other?

The answer, unfortunately, is still no. On the face of it, in modern society, many marriages are childless, and there may seem to be little to differentiate such unions from two people of the same sex living together, whether heterosexuals sharing a residence or homosexuals attempting to mimic a married life. But there is always the implication that a childless couple may have children if they wish, and bring them up as their own, even if they are in fact adopted.

To allow homosexual 'couples' to bring up children as their own is unfair on the kids. Certainly, there are plenty of children who are brought up in one-parent families, and there are plenty of children who are orphans, but this isn't something that society aims for. It aims to allow all children the ideal circumstances of growing up with two parents, perhaps even with a sibling or two, and should continue to do so. It would be preferable for a child to grow up with only one parent than to grow up in such a distorted family life as one in which there are two male or two female parents.