It’s not talked of much, but to listen to the chorus of criticism over President Obama’s speaking publicly in favor of gay marriage this week you would think that merely having a sexual orientation that places you within the LGBT Community makes you sexually more promiscuous or irresponsible.
The John Edwards trial, full of sexual irresponsibility by a heterosexual man, reminds us that this sort of thing is a human failing that spans the entire range of the sexual orientation spectrum. The conservative evangelical community that so dominates the Republican Party cannot conceive of a gay person acting responsibly when it comes to their sex lives. They are unable to see that meaningful relationships that end in marriage are not only possible but desirable. They don’t see the enormous capacity gay people have when it comes to raising children and caring for them.
Gay people are no more likely to engage in sexual activity in inappropriate ways than their heterosexual counterparts. They are no more promiscuous than any other people. If anything, legalizing gay marriage nationally in each of the states would promote even more responsible behavior and greater commitment among gay and lesbian people. A person getting fired from a job for their sexual orientation or being bullied about it in prep school is inconsistent with the morally responsible and a compassionate humanity. Judge all these people on their overt behavior and moral character and not the mere fact of a gay or lesbian sexual orientation.
And of course the greatest misunderstanding of them all is that a person sits down one day and says, “you know, I think I’m gonna’ be gay.” Gay and Lesbian and Transgendered people are wired that way. Just as all heterosexual individuals are wired that way. Why the Creator or simple evolutionary biology does that is not yet fully understood. We know why evolutionary biology and religious teaching as well as societal expectations all favor and ought to favor heterosexuality for reasons that are obvious to our species. But that does not mean that the roughly ten percent of us who are members of the broader LGBT community cannot be accepted for who we are without a lot of breast-beating over the end of conventional marriage and family which is not the least bit threatened and never has been in all of human history.
Christian evangelical’s efforts to suppress a person’s basic and naturally selected sexual orientation just does not work, and it harms the individual who is trying to deny who they are psychologically. Perhaps one day we will have a pill that permits a person to change their sexual orientation at whim. But until then, respecting people for who they are and allowing everyone to find real love and a partner in life is too important to be barred due to ancient biblical injunctions that affected only the ancient Israelites.
No one has to be a gay or lesbian person. Traditional heterosexual sex, love, marriage, and yes divorce will continue to thrive. And we no doubt will see divorce among gay people too in coming decades as marriage for them becomes more accepted.
We have a dramatic contrast this weekend as Mitt Romney goes to speak at the commencement ceremony of Liberty University, the most anti-gay institution in American academia. While on the other hand we have a President who boldly spoke out for human rights this week in decidedly the opposite direction. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the “arc of the moral universe is long.” Accepting both sexual orientations is simply respecting a common humanity as God has chosen to make it. It’s time for Mitt Romney to get on the right side of history on this issue. And it’s time for Christians to accept those people who have this minority sexual orientation and extend the love of Christ to them as they’ve been commanded to do.
Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
For Struggles for Justice