June 28, 2015


The chief justice's dissent is heartless. (Richard A. Posner, 6/29/15, Slate)

It was no surprise that the Supreme Court held Friday that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. It is very difficult to distinguish the case from Loving v. Virginia, which in 1967 invalidated state laws forbidding miscegenation. There was, as an economist would say, a "demand" (though rather limited) for biracial marriage, and it was difficult, to say the least, to comprehend why such marriages should be prohibited. In fact the only "ground" for the prohibition was bigotry. The same is true with respect to same-sex marriage. No more than biracial marriage does gay marriage harm people who don't have or want to have such a marriage. The prohibition of same-sex marriage harms a nontrivial number of American citizens because other Americans disapprove of it though unaffected by it.

John Stuart Mill in On Liberty drew an important distinction between what he called "self-regarding acts" and "other-regarding acts." The former involves doing things to yourself that don't harm other people, though they may be self-destructive. The latter involves doing things that do harm other people. He thought that government had no business with the former (and hence--his example--the English had no business concerning themselves with polygamy in Utah, though they hated it). Unless it can be shown that same-sex marriage harms people who are not gay (or who are gay but don't want to marry), there is no compelling reason for state intervention, and specifically for banning same-sex marriage. The dissenters in Obergefell missed this rather obvious point.

...you can't compare it to miscegenation which is wholly healthy nor can you square it with Christian decency, which acknowledges that we are affected when our neighbors destroy themselves.  Mr. Posner is speaking for the most repulsive, self-centered sort of libertarian. It is heartless because it denies that we need to love and try to help these neighbors. 

Medical Downside of Homosexual Behavior : A Political Agenda Is Trumping Science, Says Rick Fitzgibbons ( (Zenit, 12/01/05) 

To shed light on the medical and scientific research into same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior, we approached Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons. Fitzgibbons is a principal contributor to the Catholic Medical Association's statement on "Homosexuality and Hope."

Q: Could you explain why homosexuality is not normal, from a medical standpoint?

Fitzgibbons: Homosexuality was diagnosed and treated as a psychiatric illness -- abnormal behavior -- until 1973, when it was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in psychiatry because of political pressure.

Numerous conflicts make homosexual behaviors abnormal, including rampant promiscuity, inability to maintain commitment, psychiatric disorders and medical illnesses with a shortened life span.

The sexual practices of homosexuals involve serious health risks and illness. Specifically, sodomy as a sexual behavior is associated with significant and life-threatening health problems.

Unhealthy sexual behaviors occur among both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Yet the medical and social science evidence indicate that homosexual behavior is uniformly unhealthy. Men having sex with other men leads to greater health risks than men having sex with women, not only because of promiscuity but also because of the nature of sex among men. [...]

Q: What are the medical illnesses associated with homosexuality?

Fitzgibbons: The list of medical diseases found with extraordinary frequency among male homosexual practitioners as a result of abnormal homosexual behavior is alarming: anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, giardia lamblia, herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, human papilloma virus -- HPV or genital warts -- isospora belli, microsporidia, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis types B and C, and syphilis. 

Sexual transmission of some of these diseases is so rare in the exclusively heterosexual population as to be virtually unknown. Others, while found among heterosexual and homosexual practitioners, are clearly predominated by those involved in homosexual activity. 

Men who have sex with men account for the lion's share of the increasing number of cases in America of sexually transmitted infections that are not generally spread through sexual contact. 

These diseases, with consequences that range from severe and even life-threatening to mere annoyances, include hepatitis A, giardia lamblia, entamoeba histolytica, Epstein-Barr virus, neisseria meningitides, shigellosis, salmonellosis, pediculosis, scabies and campylobacter. [...]

Q: Legalizing abnormal behavior would seem to dissuade people from seeking the help they need to overcome it. Would that be a fair assessment? 

Fitzgibbons: I think that is a very fair assessment. There are attempts to prevent people from seeking help for same-sex attraction. There's definitely a movement to stop mental health professionals from providing treatment. 

The Spitzer report from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, which will publish in October, surveyed ex-homosexuals who were out of the lifestyle for five years, and it found that 64% of the men and 43% of the women considered themselves to be heterosexuals after they received treatment. Dr. Spitzer of Columbia University led the task force of the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 that removed homosexuality from our diagnostic manual. 

In a number of studies, when people with same-sex attraction were treated, a third of the patients get better, a third get mixed results, and a third don't get better. In my clinical experience, when a spiritual component is brought in to the treatment, the recovery rate is much higher. 

Posted by at June 28, 2015 8:45 AM

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