Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gay Men Can't Be Allowed To Marry Because Straight Men Can't Control Themselves

This is a diagramatic scheme of the typical brain of a straight male as espoused by lawyers for the Alliance Defense Fund.

After some technical difficulties and work related issues, I am back and ready to roll.  The past week has seen some fascinating stories come to light in the Catholic world, but I've chosen to hi lite an article from Huffington Post by Kent Greenfield for it's singular honesty about the gay marriage debate.  He asks a very pertinent question:  "Is the sexual promiscuity of straight men a reason to oppose gay marriage?"  This is a pertinent question because the defense of marriage arguments will wind their way to the Supreme Court most likely sometime next year, and so far, the opponents of gay marriage seem to be making the case that marriage exists to control the sexual expression of straight men.  I kid you not.  The following excerpt contains Mr Greenfield's analysis of this defense of marriage strategy.

In the debate, Jordan Lorence, the Senior Vice President of the Alliance Defense Fund, argued that the main reason we have marriage is not to recognize emotional ties or validate meaningful relationships. Rather, the real reason is to protect society from the promiscuity of straight men. When men and women find themselves in close proximity, he argued, they produce children. It's the nature of men to want to have sex. Marriage is a way to constrain these urges and to channel them into long-term, exclusive commitments so that the children produced have a stable family structure. He bolstered his argument by referencing the decay of the traditional family in the "inner city," and quoting then-candidate Barack Obama's 2008 speech on the need for black men to be good fathers.

If we ignore the the race-based stereotypes implicit in his critique, we are left with an assertion that straight men cannot be trusted with their powerful sexual urges. We need the institution of marriage to constrain them. (Lorence is not alone in this argument, by the way. New York's highest court held in 2006 that marriage could be restricted to straight couples because "it is more important to promote stability, and to avoid instability, in opposite-sex than in same-sex relationships," in part because straight relationships "are all too often casual or temporary.")

This does not seem like a rational argument to me, and not just because it's more than a little bizarre to base an argument about gay marriage on the sexual proclivities of straight guys. Taken seriously, the argument overstates the power of marriage to constrain the urges of straight men (consider Bill Clinton, for example), and understates the power of marriage to validate and acknowledge loving, committed relationships between two people. (And it totally ignores the purposes of sex for women, other than producing children.)

But more importantly, the argument misses the point. The crucial question that the Supreme Court must answer is not whether it is rational to award the marriage right to straight couples but whether it is irrational to exclude same-sex couples from the marriage right. And the proclivities of straight men are neither here nor there in that analysis. You cannot judge whether denying gay marriage makes sense by talking about people (straight couples) who will not be affected at all.

Unless, of course, you believe that recognizing same-sex marriages will make straight men even more promiscuous or less likely to be good fathers. I am left wondering if that is the unspoken fear of many gay marriage opponents -- that men in straight marriages will find the lure of gay marriage so tempting that they abandon their wives and children. Does that sound rational to you?


I'm not sure Mr Greenfield's last sentence is the real unspoken fear of gay marriage opponents.  I don't think it's about straight men leaving their marriages for gay marriages, I think it's about straight men leaving marriage off their sexual table altogether.  Which says what about the maturity level of straight men?  Not much.  And it it says even less about the maturity level of those who think using this strategy is legally rational.  Yet, I think there is a big core of truth in this idea that marriage primarily exists to control the sexual promiscuity of straight men and to additionally force them into taking care of the progeny that results from their promiscuous ways.  It fits the male dominated fear based mind set that underpins so much of the conservative view of the world.  Consequently, I don't find it the least bit surprising that the idea of woman as a sexual being in her own right isn't even part of this equation.  

In this primal juvenile male view of sex, women don't have or need sex, the have, and need to have, their man's babies.  Gay marriage upsets this neat little gender differential equation.  It takes marriage out of the realm of controlling male sexual virility and puts it squarely in the realm of validating love relationships. Oh my, marriage then becomes a girly relationship thingy having very little to do with virile male sexual conquest.  Can't sell a whole lot of porn if this relationship idea of sex and marriage takes hold amongst straight men.  Why straight men might take to seeing women as real beings worthy of respect rather than objects for penis insertion.

I sincerely hope the anti gay marriage crowd continues to make this argument because it's core issue is just as demeaning to the humanity of straight men as it is to gay men and all women.  But then so much of the current debate on so many issues is inherently about demeaning the dignity and value of others in order to shore up the fears we have about our own dignity and value.  What makes the gay marriage issue so very important is that sexuality is a core human attribute and it's worth and value has historically been derived by a pragmatic survivability equation.  It was important in this equation to define sexual moral expression on the basis of it's utilitarian value. Human survival depended on the over production of children.  That's not true anymore.  Human survival now depends on balancing child birth with resource availability, and one of those necessary  resources is a stable home environment.  And that resource is directly dependent on the quality of the relationship between the couple.  But God is far sighted and good, and low and behold, human sexuality has an additional aspect of cementing the bond between two people, and that isn't dependent on one particular form of sexual activity.  Oh, and it also explains why women are capable of orgasm without peg A being inserted into slot B.



  1. Very interesting post as usual, I like your point in last paragraph, "Human survival depended on the over production of children, that's not true anymore". Thank you.

    1. Thanks Ana. Unfortunately I think the Vatican movers and shakers still think the survivability of Catholicism still depends on the over production of children, and the clerical system on the specific over production of sons.

    2. For the current priesthood, with the oath of celibacy, I believe that the Vatican is absolutely right.

      Not only is it more likely that one of five sons is encouraged to join the priesthood than an only son or one of two, but the fourth or fifth son is more likely to be gay.


  2. We are all adults here, are we not? Those promiscuity arguments are ridiculous with a more logical conclusion of polygamy. The SCOTUS will look at jurisdiction, the constitution and precedent. If they so choose they may also be influenced by the courts of other countries, especially those which share the British tradition of law.

    In Canada, before the Same Sex Marriage law went to Parliament, our Supreme Court was asked four questions by the government of the day. See:

    The court ruled that Parliament, according to our constitution (1982), had the authority to pass such a law, that it did not violate our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that the act did not violate the freedom of religion provisions in the Charter. In short, religious groups were not compelled to violate their beliefs. Courts in the UK have rejected the legality same sex marriage but support the legality of civil partnership. It covers almost all the items identified as issues in the America public forum. For more information see:


    1. If the logical conclusion doesn't lead directly to polygamy, it still leads to the European solution which is official wives and unofficial mistresses.

      Perhaps the Alliance Defense Fund can get Hugh Hefner to testify as an expert witness.

    2. Of course men are not as weak as some, umm... Abrahamic religions assume,nor are they as poorly behaved as portrayed in popular culture.

      Between the stimulus and the response is the opportunity for thought, the opportunity for freedom of will, the opportunity for expression of individuality and humanity. We choose our response, thank you Dr. Viktor Frankl. (Loved the comment earlier this month on the I-Thou relationship. Hello Martin Buber!)

      Expect the worst behavior and that's what you will get, and deserve, from other human beings.


  3. For a more humorous take on men as boys as animals see the movie Bridesmaids:

    [after meeting Rita at Lillian's engagement party]
    Lillian: She has three kids now.
    Rita: Three boys.
    Annie: Woh!
    Lillian: They're so cute.
    Rita: They are cute, but when they reach that age...oh, disgusting! They smell! They're sticky! They say things that are horrible. And there is semen all over everything, okay? Disgusting! I cracked a blanket in half! Do you get where I'm going with that?
    Annie: I do. Yeah.
    Rita: I cracked it in half!
    Lillian: What?

    Time for me to check on the pasta sauce I'm cooking and return to ironing the shirts.


    1. And I have to use my remote to turn off the video game and go mow the lawn, that is if it stops snowing.

    2. Snowing? My neighbors are filling their swimming pool here in the Greater Toronto Area.

      Truth be told, I'm ironing while watching Baylor/Kentucky, a terrible game. And cooking a chicken on the BBQ.

      In the diagram above I think the illustrator missed the BBQ/meat cortex of the brain.

      ps The word verifications are funny today too.


    3. I think the BBQ/meat cortex is the unlabeled grey area.

  4. Excellent choice of graphic based on the Alliance Defense Fund's pseudoscience! I really wonder if some of the anti-gay marriage crowd are concealing psychosexual issues of their own.

    1. I don't wonder at all. It's way too obvious they are compensating for pyschosexual issues.

  5. It's nice u r back Colleen!
    I think that the uber orthodox view of marriage exists to allow straight men the European option or serial sexual liaisons of long or short duration. Simply look at the woman's position. She becomes a baby factory most of her adult life. She cannot easily risk separation or divorce because she iwill take a hit financially. Child support and alimony both end.
    She is fairly trapped, although a lot depends on her own determination and courage. This the reason why the Roman church opposes contraception. Straight men and the hierarchy have established a kind of jail for women.
    Seems like they r opposing gay marriage because it is a big step in destroying the uber orthodox concept marriage and thereby setting in motion losing control over women and losing the benefits that accrue to the hierarchy by taking women & their needs
    & their power off the table.

  6. "I sincerely hope the anti gay marriage crowd continues to make this argument because it's core issue is just as demeaning to the humanity of straight men as it is to gay men and all women."

    The article refers to one argument put forward by a Protestant campaign group, and you smudge it here as representing anything who understands marriage as an institution comprising a man and a woman?

    Is this an accidental or an intentional slur on the intelligence of your readers?

    1. This is a legal argument that, in case you didn't catch it, was used by the New York Supreme Court in 2006 to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. The Alliance Defense League is not a protestant campaign group. It is a right wing version of the ACLU that spends all it's time and money arguing culture war cases in various state and federal courts.

      My intention is not to slur the intelligence of my readers, but to point out how hysterical and demeaning the arguments defending marriage can get---towards everybody.

    2.'s still quite demonstrably not a Catholic organisation. So taking it to represent "that anti gay marriage crowd", which includes orthodox Christians using orthodox Christian reasoning, which is not touched upon in the blog post.

      Certainly, bad arguments deserve flak, and I was with you all the way...but when you go off on one about some sort of "anti gay marriage crowd", well, then the content loses credibility.

    3. This is for you continuing education Invictus. I like you because you keep me honest--or try to. Please note how many Catholic organizations are affiliated with the agenda of the ADL. I suspect you think I see right wing political conspiracies everywhere, but this link my help you see why I really do sometimes see right wing conspiracies in some areas.

    4. I'm not American, so I've heard of very few of those affiliated groups, but the only obvious Catholic one is the Catholic University of institution I'd not heard of until today.

      Every one of the others appears to be generic 'Judeo-Christian' or demonstrably Protestant.

    5. Not true, but if you aren't familiar with these American groups, it would not be as obvious as it is to some of the rest of us.

    6. For the benefit of a foreigner, which of those affiliated groups - apart from this "Catholic University of America" place - is Catholic?

    7. Or was that indeed the only Catholic affiliate to this clearly protestant organisation, whose arguments you use to undermine Church teaching?

  7. What, no boob scanning or butt scanning area?

    The culture wars only seem to encourage heterosexual married males into dominating their women as objects and possessions to control or just throw away or cheat on whenever they feel like cooking up an excuse to not really love their spouse and/or deal with their own issues regarding love. A marriage under such beliefs being drummed into them as "normal" in a culture is really what is and has been destroying many marriages. Women do not feel loved in such a marital prison to submit to any rule that delegates her as just a receptacle or in any role in which she is also denied simply because of her genitalia.

    To me, the ADL stands for Attention Deficit League who are lost when it comes to love and fostering lasting loving relationships.


    1. Good post Butterfly. ADL could also stand for Affection Deficit League.

  8. Affection Deficit League works even better. Or even, Affection Deficit Losers....


  9. from Chris Morley
    I'm late to pick this up, but this is a such a weak argument for maintaining the heterosexual marriage monopoly.
    As you've commented it's male focused, so what women may want or need in heterosexual marriage isn't even considered, and it's deeply disrespectful to the humanity, worth and intelligence of everyone. I also notice lesbians and gay men's needs and wishes for marriage are entirely disregarded and placed secondary to those of heterosexuals. Second class citizens and unequal treatment yet again.

    While we're in the land of stereotypes, surely Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defence Fund has heard how rampantly promiscuous gay men are supposed to be, because in male gay circles there's no woman involved who's socialised into being a 'good girl', so limiting sex opportunities by refusing to 'put out', just guys out to have as much sex as they can?
    With pairs, triples and orgies of unconstrained gay male libidos, doesn't that mean gay marriage is desperately needed by society to rein back gay guys' promiscuity?

    And New York's highest court is just as daft. It ruled that marriage could be restricted to straight couples because "it is more important to promote stability, and to avoid instability, in opposite-sex than in same-sex relationships," in part because straight relationships "are all too often casual or temporary."

    - Is there really a limited world supply of 'stability', such that there's only enough to go round for heterosexual people to be able to marry? Assuming there really is a limited supply of 'stability', surely there's spare 'stability' available now since marriage rates among heterosexuals have dropped substantially because many live as singles or live together instead of marry?

    This spare 'stability' capacity could be usefully made available to lesbians who are stereotypically supposed to launch a permanent relationship very shortly after an engrossing kiss with tongues.

    - Gay men's relationships are stereotypically supposed to be even more prone to being 'casual or temporary' than heterosexual men's, so that's surely an argument for marriage for gay men, with the added benefit of helping constrain our significantly higher STI/HIV infection rates?

    While we're on the stereotypes, with so many Catholic gay guys rejected or repulsed by rampant Church homophobia, there's a strong tendency to throw off all restraint; when you're dammed to hell for having any sex, you might as well go all out to be a bad boy and grab as much fun here as you can. Give us gay marriage and we might settle down and behave like the good boys we were once trained to be.

    I can cope with doctrinaire illogical arguments from Catholic bishops telling us lesbian and gay civil marriage is simply impossible to conceive of, because that's just what the Vatican demands they say, but the Alliance Defence Fund and New York's highest court can use their brains and the best arguments available.

    So I'm rather driven to conclude this was the best they could do and there are no persuasive logical arguments against lesbian and gay marriage equality.