July 04, 2004

In Context

Just so no one misunderstands where he's coming from, here's the entire transcript of Senator Rick Santorum's (R-Pennsylvania) interview with AP where he weighs in on homosexuality, which he equates with bigamy, polygamy, incest, sodomy, and adultery as sexual activities that undermine the institution of marriage and, consequently, the society as a whole.

So, where to begin?

First of all, there are actually many instances of viable and often thriving societies built on bigamy & polygamy, so we can dismiss those from this discussion. Sodomy in and of itself becomes problematic within the context of his argument because, unless he's planning on outlawing anal sex among consenting heterosexual couples as well, then you get into a civil rights violation because you're not providing equal protection under the law to all groups.

Which leaves us with incest, adultery, and homosexuality. Well, there are biological and health reasons why incest is illegal, not to mention the psychological trauma from cross generational sexual activities within the same family (think Chinatown - "she's my sister! My daughter! My sister AND my daughter!"), so, yes, it creates emotionally unstable people which leads to an unstable society. And, because it often involves people who cannot give consent because they're underaged, there's a strong civic reason to outlaw incest.

Adultery is a bit thornier. Clearly, it undermines society because it creates emotionally unstable people, hence the term "Crime of Passion". But, since it involves consenting adults, the act in and of itself doesn't actually injure or damage anyone directly, so it probably doesn't meet the test for being made illegal. But it does constitute a breach of contract, which is why adultery is often figured into divorce proceedings in terms of asset allocation.

But, in the case of homosexuality, no one is being injured. No contracts have been breached (unless one of them is married). No crime has been committed (unless one of them is underaged). So, what are the grounds upon which you base such a decision as to make homosexual acts a crime?

The only thing that the anti-gay lobby can use against them is that gay couples can't give birth without outside assistance, like adoption, surrogates, in vitro fertilization, etc. But, there are plenty of married heterosexual couples who can't either. Should it be illegal for a couple to have sex, for instance, after the woman has undergone menopause?

There is no legal precedent to stand on, other than the fact that Sen. Santorum finds homosexual activities repugnant.

At the end of the day, it's bigotry.

And I'd respect him and others like him more if they would just admit that they don't like them.

And the Bible isn't really an adaquate excuse either. The same section of Leviticus that says a man shouldn't lay with another man because it's a hateful act also says that you shouldn't shave your beard. Why choose to observe one and not the other?

Again, bigotry.