Gays and cultural war
aebrownstein at UCDAVIS.EDU
Thu Dec 4 10:01:42 PST 1997
Rick Duncan writes:
"Prof. Dent's original point is a good one--so long as liberals insist on
codifying the sexual revolution, we will have a bitter culture war in
our polity. No compromise seems possible because homosexual advocates
demand approval and the most traditionalists can offer is tolerance of
Perhaps. I doubt that I would describe myself as a "homosexual advocate"
so I am not sure if Rick is talking about people like me, but I certainly
do not demand that Professor Duncan or anyone else approve behavior that
their religious beliefs condemn. It seems to me that at least some of the
bitterness of this cultural war is grounded on two other "demands". (I am
NOT suggesting in any way that these are Professor Duncan's positions,
although, as always, I would welcome his thoughts on my point.)
First, some critics of "gay rights" seem to insist that recognizing a
person's right to engage in certain behavior necessarily implies moral
approval of that behavior. Therefore, because homosexual relationships are
bad, society should not recognize a right to engage in homosexual activity
or even civil rights for gay people. I think this position misunderstands
the nature of constitutional liberty. I strongly disapprove of a great deal
of speech (and even some religius practices) that I think the constitution
protects. If we do not always equate rights and moral approval, there is
more room for cultural compromise.
Second, rather than homosexual advocates demanding the approval of others,
I sometimes get the feeling that some opponents of gay rights are really
demanding that gay people must either demonstrably hate themselves or at
least demonstrate that they view their sexual relationships as loathsome
and evil as a pre-condition for being "tolerated" as members of society.
That position leaves little room for compromise, but it also bears little
relationship to my understanding of tolerance.
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