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Ten Questions for Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong

Yesterday, along with many others I watched the much anticipated marriage equality debate between Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong.  I found some of the questions from the press gallery quite predictable. I felt the questions did not really challenge what marriage equality may mean for us as we progress as a nation. I have put together ten questions I would have liked to have asked Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong.

Question 1 – Twelve Year Olds
Many young people dream of their wedding.  Even at twelve years old I dreamt of my wedding and would often gaze at a good looking boy in my class and wonder if it would be him.  If marriage equality becomes the norm, how will the world change for all twelve year olds?

Question 2 – Is it time to really scrutinise marriage?
Marriage as currently defined, has no specific parameters of what that actually means, besides the union of a man and a woman.  If a man and a woman are married, they can live a life as a sham. They do not need to sleep in the same bed or even live in the same home or even town.  They do not have to share parenting, or be good parents or even be parents and there is always a contentious argument of if and when the housework is actually shared equally.  Heterosexual married couples do not even have to treat each other with respect or endearment. They do not even have to be in love.

My question is, if we do not question the validity of what marriage means, outside of the bringing together of gender opposites, then why is the anti-marriage equality side constantly debating the morals, scruples and behaviour of the LGBTQI community who would like to be married? If this is such a strong area of concern, how do we redress the imbalance here if the anti-marriage equality advocates do succeed? Should we have more scrutiny of heterosexual married couples?

Question 3 – Gender Transformation
If an individual who is married decides to undertake the journey of gender transformation; what do the current laws mean for the married couple if they want to stay together, if both individuals identify and are legally recognised as the same gender?  How will marriage equality have an impact on individuals who undertake the journey of gender transformation,and their spouse?

Question 4 – Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a very prominent issue in Australia at present.  Domestic violence is often discussed in terms of between a man and a woman, rather than between two people. There is now a shift in reports and language surrounding intimate partner violence, which includes same sex relationships.  How will marriage equality assist Governments to legislate for protections for all people in domestic violence situations and enable Governments to fund programs inclusive for all victims of domestic violence?

Question 5 – Atonement
Because it is 2015 and Australia still does not have marriage equality, there may be some LGBTQI people in our community who have felt they could not just ‘be who they are’ and may have chosen to live a life married in a heterosexual relationship for whatever reasons they decided this was best for them.  If marriage equality is achieved, is it fair to say that there may be some resentment from those who feel they have been forced to make decisions they would not have had to? Is it fair to say that by not recognising marriage equality earlier, we have not allowed people to live a full life with freedom of individual expression and decision making and how do we as a nation atone for this?

Question 6 – A parent’s perspective
As a mother to a newly engaged daughter, my excitement is over-whelming awaiting the wedding. Weddings are something which do bring family and friends together for such a celebration of love and happiness. Weddings are seen as a key milestone for so many.  I see myself as someone who is privileged to enjoy this excitement and my heart pains for mothers and fathers who do not have this privilege. From the perspective as a parent, how does a Government see their role in interfering in such a personal, individual celebration of love which is only afforded to mothers and fathers given this privilege? This question is particularly for Senator Bernardi, considering his Government favours small Government and is supposed to favour distancing themselves from interference in the private sphere.

Question 7 – Our social fabric
One of the biggest arguments for marriage equality is that it will end discrimination and enable equality for all.  As per my last question, marriage is currently for those privileged to do so under our laws.  If we do not allow same-sex couples to ‘be’ as heterosexual couples are allowed to just ‘be’ then our social fabric will always be woven from those in a position of privilege.  How can our social fabric ever be complete when we are unconscious of a discourse that is currently silent about love, understanding and togetherness for all? How will marriage equality assist to weave our social fabric or in Senator Bernardi’s case destroy our social fabric?

Question 8 – Regional and Rural communities
I live in a regional community and I am aware that as I have aged over the years, many friends from my younger days have moved on to live in capital cities where communities are generally more supportive of LGBTQI Individuals, as regional and rural communities have not been very supportive in their experience. Some studies also cite very harsh treatment towards LGBTQI people who reside in regional and rural communities with some contemplating suicide or sadly, taking their own lives. What impact will marriage equality have on LGBTQI individuals living in rural and regional communities and what impact will marriage equality have in shaping these communities as a whole?

Question 9 – A Government’s responsibility to understand all groups in society
Although liberal feminism has achieved some great progress for women; liberal feminism was criticised by women of colour for excluding their lived experiences of discrimination and their need to redress areas of discrimination. This is because liberal feminists made assumptions from the perspective of middle class white women. Feminism has evolved to now women of colour having a much stronger voice and leading the issues in many areas of feminism. Including more experiences from a broader range of individuals can only result in better informed legislation.  There are many areas of social policy and statistics collections where research assumptions are made on research and data collected from a heteronormative viewpoint.  For example, there is little data to understand issues for single mothers who were previously in a same-sex relationship.

As it is the Government’s responsibility to develop social policies and legislate for same; isn’t it also the Government’s responsibility to ensure they have an understanding of all groups in society? How will marriage equality impact on the development of social policy and legislation of same? If Cory Bernardi believes these groups should be excluded by default by not having marriage equality legislation to redress this imbalance, does he support ill-informed legislation and policies?

Question 10 – Tolerance and conscience vote versus binding vote.
Anthony Albanese (Albo) on ABC Qanda on 1 June indicated in his response to a question about marriage equality and a conscience vote, is that we need to tolerate and respect the views of others to bring them along with us.  We have many different pieces of legislation which already make discrimination unlawful. Therefore, the battle against discrimination and inequality has been won on many fronts with political parties or Governments coming together to legislate for change to enable equality.

My question is about a conscience vote versus a binding vote. I question whether a conscience vote is a necessary patience, or a subconscious accommodation for the class of people who understand discrimination well enough in other contexts; but not when it involves stamping out discrimination for something they fear.  The same class of people who use religion, ignorance and/or prejudice as a shield to ward off progress.   As a progressive, I do not feel I need to respect groups or individuals who actively fight against progress and who uphold discrimination.

So my question is: How do Governments or even political parties make the decision about what is characterised to be morally and ethically sufficient or insufficient to determine whether a binding vote or conscience vote will be used?  Also, to truly progress, how tolerant should we be of all views?

Originally posted on Polyfeministix – take a poll about how you will vote here

57 comments

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  1. Terry2

    It is interesting to speculate on how this discussion would have evolved had it not been for the 2004 amendments to the federal Marriage Act which introduced the notion of marriage being restricted to one man and one woman.

    It is likely that the common law would by now have been challenged and probably the matter taken to the High Court and, with the evolutionary nature of the common law, it is probable that marriage equality would by now have been recognised with no need to change the original legislation.

    It should have been foreseeable in 2004 that those amendments to the Act were going to act as an obstruction to evolutionary change.

    Penny Wong was articulate and balanced in the debate and Bernardi seemed to be saying that any change would impact on religion and children which, of course is nonsense. Religious organisations will continue to have the right to marry whomsoever they wish although. personally, from what we hear every day from the Royal Commission into child abuse I would run a mile before getting involved with any of these organisations.

  2. miriamenglish

    Bernardi is a hopeless moron cut from the same foolish cloth as Abbott, with one slight difference. While I have no problem believing Abbott is heterosexual, I often wonder if Bernardi’s foaming-at-the-mouth homophobia springs from the self-hatred of being deeply in the closet. He makes me think of those yank politicians who, after too enthusiastically spouting homophobic crap, usually end up getting exposed having furtive sexual liaisons with good looking young men.

    Personally, I hope this pack of klutzes in government succeed in staving off marriage equality while they’re in power. That will automatically pit 10% of the population against them. Actually, it will have wider effects than that. It will also anger all the friends of the gay 10%. And while most of the lesbians I know are no more social than the general population, the gay men I know are often quite gregarious.

    So I really hope Abbott doesn’t weaken and allow marriage equality. I truly want as many people as possible to see that he views marriage as about hate, not love.

  3. Harquebus

    The marriage equality debate is sideshow distraction which, gets too much attention. There are far more important matters which, I prefer to concern myself about and is why I did not watch the debate.
    I have met Penny Wong. She is an ignorant fool.

  4. townsvilleblog

    Well said Trish, there is no better example of bigotry than a religious bigot who is too blind to see the truth.

  5. Matters Not

    She is an ignorant fool

    Really? Well, I suppose it takes one to ….

    For my part I think she’s top notch.

  6. Harquebus

    Matters Not.
    You would.

  7. guest

    A harquebus is an early type of portable gun, supported on a tripod by a hook or on a forked rest. From Middle High/Low German.

  8. Lee

    These are really good questions.

    Q1: It might save some future heartache. If you’re daydreaming about a gay boy, he isn’t going to marry you anyway and you’re going to be disappointed when he doesn’t want to be anything but friends.

    Q2: What’s wrong with married people sleeping in separate beds or separate rooms? Some do it to get a better night’s sleep. That doesn’t make the relationship a sham. You make a valid point for the rest of Q2.

    Q4: Are victims of domestic violence in same sex relationships excluded from the assistance that is available now?

    Q5: Why is atonement as a nation needed? We have to start somewhere and just having legislation that recognises same sex marriage does not mean that all parents and families are going to recognise it. LGBTQI people will still risk rejection by family members and friends over their sexual orientation.

    Q9: Does Cory Bernardi support ill-informed legislation and policies? Yes he does, along with the rest of the Liberals, and not just on the issue of same sex marriage!

  9. Lee

    “The marriage equality debate is sideshow distraction which, gets too much attention. There are far more important matters”

    I suppose there are far more important matters to people who don’t care about anyone else except themselves. The issue of marriage equality is very important to those who are excluded.

    If my husband was brain dead and being kept alive on a ventilator, I’m allowed to make the decision to withdraw treatment, in accordance with his wishes that he expressed to me previously. A gay person does not have the right to make that decision for their long term partner.

    I know someone who was born a male and married. His wife was injured in an accident and spent many years in a vegetative state in a nursing home before she died. The man waited until after her death before he had gender reassignment surgery. With marriage equality he would not be forced to live for so many years in conflict. He could still honour his marriage vows and have the surgery.

  10. Harquebus

    Lee
    “people who don’t care about anyone else except themselves”
    The same could be said for those who desire and devote their efforts to this marriage equality thingy while other more important and serious matters go unattended.

  11. Lee

    Harquebus, you seem jealous that some of us can multitask.

  12. kerri

    My question is, why does the decision fall into the hands and minds of politicians? There needs to be a vote where the Australian people in all their mixed up glory make a decision about equality for their fellow Australians! This is not a politicians decision as both Abbott and Gillard have proven! It is not their choice!

  13. kerri

    Terry2 I agree. Howard the coward tried to gazumph same sex marriage by altering the act.
    Also my mother her sister and her brother (who died an alcoholic in a mental institution) were sent to Catholic school as their mother, a devout Irish Catholic, promised she would raise them in the faith. My grandfather was of another faith and this constituted a “mixed marriage” making the children dirty in the eyes of the nuns who cruelly beat my uncle for using his left hand (the devils hand). My mother left school at grade SIX,!!
    Sounds old fashioned?
    A family we know, whose daughters are the same age as mine had the same experience. She, a Catholic, promised, that the girls would be christened and confirmed to appease the priest for her marrying a non catholic.
    Religion meddles in lives and destroys many lives!

  14. trishcorry

    Hi Lee. Thank you for your comments on the questions.
    With Q1 – My point was to express that as a heterosexual girl I could dream about a future wedding. As I do not identify as LGBTQI, I wonder how this will change the world through the eyes of all young 12 year olds who dream of the future.

    With Q2. Live life as a sham is a separate point. Then I go on to say a number of things that don’t necessarily mean that their marriage is a sham, but are also not questions raised as to the validity or seriousness of marriage in its current form. Same-Sex couples are.

    Q4. This question’s pre-text discusses that domestic violence statistics are collected in general from a heteronormative view. We don’t know if LGBTI can access the same services, or if enough do, or if there are hindrances to do so, or if they are the right services, as the majority statistics and research and historical data which inform the support systems are collected from observing a different group.

    Q5. My question here is that at the time, the nation thought removing Aboriginal children from their families was the right thing to do. At the time, the nation thought taking babies from single mothers and adopting them out was the right thing to do. My question is, if it comes to light that many do feel harmed from exclusion and discrimination, should we as a nation atone for that? Yes, we do move forward, but I feel very strongly we should also take responsibility for what has occurred prior to those changes.

    I’m sorry if the questions were not clear.

  15. Logical Argument Please

    “Gay” Advocate: “Can’t you see that denying gays the right to marry is discrimination. Why shouldn’t they have the same basic rights as heterosexuals?”

    You: “I’m a little confused by your argument. Are you saying that you think homosexuality is equivalent to heterosexuality?”

    “Gay” Advocate: “Of course they are equivalent. One person is no better than another just because of whom they happen to love.”

    You: “I still don’t get it. How do you define homosexuality and heterosexuality? It’s more than love isn’t it?”

    “Gay” Advocate: “Homosexuality is just your sexual orientation. It’s the way you’re born. Some people are straight. Some are gay. You don’t think gay people should be discriminated against just because they have a different orientation, do you?”

    You: “I’d like to answer that question after we talk about what sexual orientation is, but I’m still not clear on what you mean by homosexuality. How do you know that it’s just the way someone is born?

    “Gay” Advocate. “Everybody knows that. There are lots of studies. Besides, who would choose to be gay when there is so much hatred and homophobia against them?”

    You: “Lots of people make choices that other people hate. That doesn’t prove anything. And all the studies that I have seen have been inconclusive. Can you cite me any study that absolutely proves that gays are born that way?”

    “Gay” Advocate: “They’re out there. But gay people don’t have to prove themselves to deserve basic rights. You don’t have to prove your heterosexuality to get your rights do you?”

    You: “Now we’re back where we started on this question of whether homosexuality is equivalent to heterosexuality. You still haven’t defined what homosexuality is or what heterosexuality is. Isn’t it a question of behavior?”

    “Gay” Advocate: “No, its not about behavior, its about orientation. I already said that. You can be gay and celibate. Being gay is when the person you fall in love with is the same sex as you. Being straight is when you fall in love with someone of the opposite sex. That’s it.”

    You: “So where does sex come in. If orientation has nothing to do with sexual behavior, what stops pedophiles from claiming equality with gays and straights? If they never get physical, what does it matter if they fall in love with a child?”

    “Gay” Advocate: “Yeah, but pedophilia is illegal.”

    You: “Right. The behavior is illegal, but not the thoughts and feelings. That’s why its important to be very clear on the definition of homosexuality and heterosexuality before we decide if they’re equal. If we’re only talking about thoughts and feelings, then perhaps they are equal, but then so are all the other orientations you can think of. If we compare them by the types of behavior they involve, that’s a different story. Pedophile behavior is illegal because it harms children. Homosexual behavior is still illegal in many states because it spreads disease and dysfunction.”

    “Gay” Advocate: “Well heterosexuals engage in the same risky behaviors as homosexuals.”

    You: “So would you agree that disapproval of all harmful sexual conduct is reasonable?”

    “Gay” Advocate: “No, I don’t think its anyone’s business what two people do in the privacy of their own bedroom.”

    You: “Allow me to summarize what you’re saying. Homosexuals and heterosexuals are only different as to the choice of their partner, one is same-sex, the other opposite sex, but that they are equal in that both engage in the same types of sexual conduct. You also believe that society has no right to regulate sexual conduct even if it threatens the public health, but you would make an exception for pedophiles. Is that about right?”

    “Gay” Advocate: “I’m not going to let you trap me into some homophobic box. Your problem is that you’re a bigot.”

    You: “Your problem is that you don’t understand that homosexuality is very different than heterosexuality. Heterosexuality describes the way all human beings are designed to function as compatible opposite-sex partners. Homosexuality could only be equivalent if it was rooted in a comparable physiological design. Instead, even when engaging in homosexual acts, a person remains inherently and immutably heterosexual by nature. Sexual orientation is just a theoretical model that lets you pretend that sexuality is a subjective state-of-mind and not an objective physical reality. “That’s why marriage is closed to homosexuals. It is an institution designed to protect and strengthen the natural family, which is itself rooted in the procreative heterosexual design we all share.”

  16. miriamenglish

    Thanks Trish, for prompting me to watch the debate. I wouldn’t have bothered otherwise.

    I thought Penny Wong was very clear and rational. (Certainly not an ignorant fool, Harquebus.) I was surprised that Cory Bernardi came off sounding less stupid than other times I’ve heard him speak. I did keep wanting to protest when he kept rattling on about not changing traditional marriage. The biblical traditional of marriage has always been, until fairly recently, that polygamy is the normal. The bible actually goes on and on, ad nauseum, with rules about how to deal with your multiple wives (because, of course, women were property, not full humans). My point being, that christians such as Bernardi are already ignoring their own religion’s dictates about what traditional marriage is. They can’t then stand on their alteration as being the “traditional” one.

    I’ll reiterate my stance that I hope the LNP continue to block marriage equality because it will help to lose them the election. If Labor win I expect they would cement their standing in the community by granting marriage equality. If the Greens win (which would be an even better, if less likely, outcome) then marriage equality would be guaranteed.

  17. Harquebus

    We will see who turns out to be the ignorant fools.

    Is it too late for the truth… Tad Patzek, Ph.D.
    Lethal distractions by small and irrelevant things.
    h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXsvsksHi5g

  18. miriamenglish

    Oh dear. “Logical Argument Please” (and I place quotes around your alias because it doesn’t describe your actions) there are a number of terrible logical flaws in your argument.

    You slipped in the idea that homosexuality spreads disease without examining the untruth of that assertion, yet your whole argument hinges upon it. Around the world hetero sex spreads far more disease than gay sex ever did. You seem to have a thing about guys’ dicks (as many homophobes do) and you completely miss the fact that lesbians are the least likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases, yet they are homosexual and disadvantaged by such laws.

    There are species on the planet that have sex organs suited to heterosexual sex, but exist solely as a single sex. An example is the Whiptail lizards of New Mexico who consist entirely of females. They indulge in copulatory behavior (with no exchange of genetic material) which prompts them to produce fertile eggs. There are many other species that can produce many generations through parthenogenesis (virgin birth), yet be able to have hetero sex when available. So, you see that having heterosexual organs is not a genuine predictor of the necessity for them.

    You dismiss the many findings that there is indeed a genetic link with homosexuality. There is especially good evidence that homosexuality confers advantages on close relatives’ ability to successfully raise children. In fact in the wider animal world it has been shown that homosexual parents themselves can be much more effective than heterosexual ones as the offspring tend to have 3 parents instead of 2. This holds true with many of the gay families I’ve known, where the two women often maintain a close friendship with the man who donated the sperm, or gay men maintain their friendship with the woman who gave birth to the baby (though most gay male couples that I know of adopt, giving a home to child who doesn’t have one).

    Every intelligent species of animal (lions, sheep, geese, penguins, dolphins, giraffes, and so on) has a small proportion of their population that is same-sex attracted. This includes humans. This alone indicates that it is an entirely natural phenomenon.

    In short, “Logical Argument Please”, your argument sucks really badly and your bigotry is showing.

  19. Lee

    Harquebus, there will always be numerous important issues to address. Many will never be able to be crossed off the list. No one will ever agree on the order of the list. So put your big boy pants on and address more than one simultaneously. For someone who feels that marriage equality is unimportant, you are sure are devoting a lot of time to reading and posting about it.

  20. miriamenglish

    Good grief, Harquebus. Lee is right. You really can’t manage more than one topic, can you. Why would you post a link to a video about climate change to a discussion about marriage equality?

    Uh… no need to answer. I know exactly why. You seem to have great difficulty walking and chewing gum.

    Do you not realise that almost all of us here agree with the thesis of that video? You are preaching to the choir… except in your belief that we’re all screwed no matter what we do, of course.

  21. Harquebus

    To see intelligent people wasting their time and effort on something that, in my opinion, is completely irrelevant and should be the last thing that we should be worrying about, is most disheartening.
    I thought you all were better than this.

  22. miriamenglish

    Harquebus, we are not wasting our time on this topic. The only one wasting their time on this appears to be you (by your own definition).

  23. jimhaz

    [The same could be said for those who desire and devote their efforts to this marriage equality thingy while other more important and serious matters go unattended]

    I had that view before Ireland voted for it. It showed just how far the LNP has made us fall. We are back to the class society we had been moving away from until Howard. The LNP does not care who they treat as 2nd class class citizens with lesser rights so long as they can increase the range of those whom fit into this “lesser value” group. I know neo-liberals view the working class as battery hens, but the LNP do whatever they can to codify this (hence Howard changing the marriage Act in 2004 to read man and woman).

    Although I don’t agree with the prevailing view on this site (that view being we are obligated to help as many refugees as possible), it has also become clear that refugees have “enemy” status whatsoever in LNP minds – and enemy status means “harm them as much as possible”. This became clear to me when I found out they were mixing actual criminals who have been denied visas with refugees in detention centres – no wonder the abuse stats are so high.

  24. Harquebus

    You all don’t get it.
    It’s not the climate change, it is the unimportance of this subject that is distracting you as it is has done for a lot of others and for quite some time.
    I’m off to more important concerns and will leave you discuss what you will all someday realize, is a deliberate distraction.

  25. Lee

    “The LNP does not care who they treat as 2nd class class citizens with lesser rights so long as they can increase the range of those whom fit into this “lesser value” group.”

    That’s a very valid point, Jimhaz. The LNP is dividing society into two groups over many different, important issues. Is there an issue where they aren’t dividing people? Achieving marriage equality is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting everyone to view everyone else as a fellow human being whose needs are equally worthy of consideration.

  26. Lee

    Harquebus, it’s the neo-liberal strategy to divide and conquer. By refusing to work towards equality and acknowledge that we all have equal rights, you’re playing right into the LNP’s hands.

  27. diannaart

    Climate change: not so easily fixed, very expensive and those who understand that is even occurring do not agree on solutions.

    Marriage equality: All that is needed is to reset the changes the little worm , Howard, made to Marriage Legislation – not a big deal, not going to cost very much….

    Some people really need to learn how to prioritise, but then some people disparage Penny Wong who is both female and lesbian…. hmmmmm.

  28. Harquebus

    Lee
    Marriage equality is a distraction and in my opinion, it is you that has fallen into wrong hands.

    diannaart
    Marriage inequality is not a threat to civilization. No second guesses as to where my priorities lay.
    An ignorant fool is an ignorant fool. Gender and sexual orientation has nothing to do with it.

    Cheers.

  29. miriamenglish

    Harquebus, that’s the second time you’ve called Penny Wong an ignorant fool. She seems to me anything but ignorant or foolish. I find this a little puzzling. I know at times you do overreact, but this particular case seems odd to me.

  30. Logical Argument Please

    Thanks for you comments mirriamenglish. ‘You dismiss the many findings that there is indeed a genetic link with homosexuality.’ After all you brought it up !!

    Much of the current media sources assume the question is a solved scientific problem with all the evidence pointing toward a biological (probably genetic) basis for a homosexual orientation. Although there is some evidence on both sides of question. In addition, many of the initial studies, which were highly touted by the media as “proof” for a biological basis for homosexuality, have been contradicted by later, more thorough studies.

    Until a few years ago, sexual orientation used to be called sexual preference. Obviously, the two terms denote significant differences in the the manner by which sexuality develops. A preference is something that is chosen, whereas orientation is merely something that defines us. The differences are potentially important regarding how the law applies to those who are gay. If homosexuality is not chosen, but actually is a biologically-determined characteristic over which we have no choice, then laws should not treat gays and straights differently, since homosexuality would be equivalent to one’s race, over which we have no control.

    The question of how homosexual orientation originates has been the subject of much press, with the general impression being promoted that homosexuality is largely a matter of genes, rather than environmental factors. However, if one examines the scientific literature, one finds that it’s not quite as clear as the news bytes would suggest.

    The early studies that reported differences in the brains of homosexuals were complicated by HIV infection and were not substantiated by larger, better controlled studies. Numerous studies reported that possible hormonal differences affected homosexual orientation. However, these studies were often directly contradictory, and never actually measured any hormone levels, but just used proxies for hormonal influences, without direct evidence that the proxies were actually indicative of true hormone levels or imbalances. Twin studies showed that there likely are genetic influences for homosexuality, although similar studies have shown some genetic influences for homophobia and even opposition to abortion. Early childhood abuse has been associated with homosexuality, but, at most, only explains about 10% of those who express a homosexual orientation. The fact that sexual orientation is not constant for many individuals, but can change over time suggests that at least part of sexual orientation is actually sexual preference. Attempts to find a “gay gene” have never identified any gene or gene product that is actually associated with homosexual orientation, with studies failing to confirm early suggestions of linkage of homosexuality to region Xq28 on the X chromosome. The question of genetic influences on sexual orientation has been recently examined using DNA microarray technology, although, the results have largely failed to pinpoint any specific genes as a factor in sexual orientation.

    24. Dean Hamer gained even more notoriety by publishing a book entitled The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes, which a Scientific American Review of The God Gene said should have been titled, “A Gene That Accounts for Less than One Percent of the Variance Found in Scores on Psychological Questionnaires Designed to Measure a Factor Called Self-Transcendence, Which Can Signify Everything from Belonging to the Green Party to Believing in ESP, According to One Unpublished, Unreplicated Study.”
    25. Hamer, D. H., S. Hu, V. L. Magnuson, N. Hu, and A. M. Pattatucci. 1993. A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science 261: 321.
    26. Hu S., A.M. Pattatucci, C. Patterson, L. Li, D.W. Fulker, S.S. Cherny, L. Kruglyak, and D.H. Hamer. 1995. Linkage between sexual orientation and chromosome Xq28 in males but not in females. Nat. Genet. 11:248-56.
    27. Rice, G., C. Anderson, N. Risch, and G. Ebers. 1999. Male Homosexuality: Absence of Linkage to Microsatellite Markers at Xq28. Science 284: 665-667.
    28. Wickelgren, I. 1999. Discovery of ‘Gay Gene’ Questioned. Science 284: 571.
    29. Marks, J. 2002. What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes.
    30. Multiple Aspects of Sexual Orientation: Prevalence and Sociodemographic Correlates in a New Zealand National Survey J. Elisabeth Wells, Magnus A. McGee and Annette L. Beautrais DOI: 10.1007/s10508-010-9636-x
    31. Diamond, L. M. 2003. Was it a phase? Young women’s relinquishment of lesbian/bisexual identities over a 5-year period. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 84: 352-64.
    32. Diamond, L. M. 2000. Sexual identity, attractions, and behavior among young sexual-minority women over a 2-year period. Dev. Psychol. 36: 241-50.
    33. Rosario M., E.W. Schrimshaw, J. Hunter, and L. Braun. 2006. Sexual identity development among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths: consistency and change over time. J Sex Res. 43: 46-58.
    34. Kinnish, K.K., Strassberg, D.S., Turner, C.W., 2005. Sex differences in the flexibility of sexual orientation: a multidimensional retrospective assessment. Archives of Sexual Behavior 34, 173–183.
    35. Whoops! Lesbian ‘Person of the Year’ in Gay Press Goes Straight With Baby by Tim Graham.
    36. Former Lesbian: I Craved Emotional Balance of Hetero Relationship by Kathleen Gilbert.
    37. Michael Glatze. 2011. How a ‘gay rights’ leader became straight. WorldNetDaily.
    38. Stanton L. Jones & Mark A. Yarhouse. 2011. A longitudinal study of attempted religiously-mediated sexual orientation change. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 37: 404-427.
    39. Cameron P. 2006. Children of homosexuals and transsexuals more apt to be homosexual. J. Biosoc. Sci. 38:413-418.
    40. Schumm, W. R. 2010. Children of homosexuals more apt to be homosexuals? A reply to Morrison and to Cameron based on an examination of multiple sources of data. J. Biosoc. Sci. 42:721-742.
    42. Mustanski, B. S., Dupree, M. G., Nievergelt, C. M., Bocklandt, S., Schork, N. J. & Hamer, D. H. 2005. A genome-wide scan of male sexual orientation. Hum. Genet. 116, 272–278 (2005).
    43. Ramagopalan, S. V., D. A. Dyment, L. Handunnetthi, G. P. Rice and G. C. Ebers. 2010. A genome-wide scan of male sexual orientation. J. Hum. Genet. 55: 131–132.
    44. Wang, B., Zhou S., Hong F., Wang J., Liu X., Cai Y., Wang F., Feng T., and Ma, X. 2011. Association Analysis Between the Tag SNP for Sonic Hedgehog rs9333613 Polymorphism and Male Sexual Orientation J. Androl. 2011 Sep 22.
    45. Laurent, R., B. Toupance, and R. Chaix. 2012. Non-random mate choice in humans: insights from a genome scan. Molecular Ecology 21:587–596.
    46. E. M. Drabant, A. K. Kiefer, N. Eriksson, J. L. Mountain, U. Francke, J. Y. Tung, D. A. Hinds, C. B. Do 23andMe. 2012 Genome Wide Association Study of Sexual Orientation in a Large, Web-based Cohort. Abstract presented at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in San Francisco.

  31. Harquebus

    miriamenglish

    I had the opportunity to have discussion with Penny during the 2013 election campaigned. Naturally, I wanted to talk about energy which, she had no understanding of and went on with a rehearsed blurb about renewable energy which, as I keep saying, does not exist. It was an amiable conversation but, did confirm her ignorance.

    I actually wanted to talk to Kevin Rudd but, was thwarted by the throng of cameras and microphones that surrounded him.

    Later at the same event and after the dignitaries had departed, I witnessed a GMH worker talking to several journalists about job security for auto workers. As the interview concluded, I asked if I may ask a question. Cameras and microphones were pointed in my direction and I asked the worker, “How do you think peak oil will affect the future of the Australian auto industry?”
    Cameras and microphones were quickly put away and the journalists departed. The auto worker had never heard of the phenomenon.

    The answer now is obvious.

    The Vacant Pontiac Silverdome, 2014
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuxrWO0JEM0

    http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1864272_1810101,00.html

  32. miriamenglish

    LAP, I don’t disagree with anything in your reply (up until all those superfluous references obviously copied and pasted from some article somewhere). The point you make so amply is that there are studies pointing both ways, yet you easily dismiss all those pointing toward a genetic component. It puzzles me that you feel able to do that.

    Personally, I don’t know whether there is a genetic component or not, and I actually don’t really care if it is “nurture” rather than “nature” (though animal studies would tend to indicate it’s largely nature).

    You didn’t reply regarding any of my other points. Does this mean you concede that you’re wrong?

  33. miriamenglish

    Harquebus, the fact that she thinks the same thing about renewable energy as the majority of scientists and intellectuals on the planet, whereas you, almost alone, believe there is no such thing doesn’t make her ignorant or a fool. In fact it draws a less than happy image of you, I’m sorry to say.

    I guess your argument could be semantic, so you might say that solar power is not renewable in that it uses a source that is gradually going to run out in some billions of years. You might also say similar things about others (tidal: the moon is moving away by millimeters each year; geothermal: the Earth is cooling slowly as radioactive elements in the core lose radioactivity over billions of years), but the point of the term “renewable” is that as we use it there is always more coming (where “always” is considered generally equivalent to “the foreseeable future”). We use sunlight and look, there’s always more. We dig up coal and we use it up, then have to go dig elsewhere. We’re already past peak oil.

    Your impatience regarding renewable energy comes not from the semantic though, it is that you’ve somehow succumbed to the big oil lie that renewable energy doesn’t work, even though more and more countries are successfully using it for increasing amounts of their energy resources. People have addressed your concerns about being able to make the equipment for generating power from renewable sources, yet you still keep repeating the same thing as if nobody had ever said anything or as if you live in a Groundhog Day time loop. What will it take for you to realise that renewable energy really is fixing the problem?

    Yes, there is urgency. It won’t be solved by the clueless crop of politicians currently in power. Yes, the solution requires drastically greater efficiency and lower consumption of physical resources. Certainly few here would argue with that, and I doubt Penny Wong would either. We are moving in that direction despite our politicians and corporate “masters” (for example Australian electricity consumption fell despite increasing population, much to the annoyance of the electricity companies). Are we moving fast enough to avoid major catastrophe? Nobody really knows. I’d like us to be moving faster.

  34. Logical Argument Please

    ME there are many arguments. Anything can be argued. In the end debate is presuppositional. One’s worldview slants the way evidence or study is interpreted. Consider tobacco, pesticides, genetic modification of crops; many studies favoured each industry perspective and this debate isn’t any different. Eventually the rorts and real agenda’s were brought to light on the harm.

    I could go on with many studies on these and other matters, as I imagine you can. If one believes they are an animal only and hence not different innately then they will bias arguments accordingly. However if one sees humans innately and immutably different; with choice, truth, lies, self respect, judgement and a moral responsibility towards others then these both sides of arguments are the fodder for battlefields. If it’s supposed there is no ultimate authority of what is right or wrong then we all do that which is right in our own eyes, even if consequences are deemed negative, unbeneficial by others, e.g science. The heart of people lies behind their eyes in their minds. Behaviour shall always be the measure of accounting.

  35. Harquebus

    miriamenglish
    You mean the majority of scientist that have a stake in the renewable industry or depend on research grants.
    Off topic and will gladly argue some more about this on a more appropriate page.
    Time will tell.

  36. miriamenglish

    LAP, that seems an elaborate way of avoiding answering.
    I guess it is hard to have one’s bigotry shown clearly for what it is.

  37. miriamenglish

    Harquebus, wow. I had no idea you’d been sucked so entirely into the vortex of lies from the fossil fools.

  38. Harquebus

    miriamenglish
    I do not favor fossil fuels. I get scolded for going off topic too much.
    We can have this out another time and I am looking forward to it.
    Cheers.

  39. eli nes

    the answer to the debate is in q1. When I was young, I was frightened of girls and avoided them like the plague but one day after a look at the breasts of a PNG girl in a National Geographic my little appendage stood to attention but unknown to me my best friend’s didn’t move.
    We were so occupied with sport and ‘boy’ stuff that we continued to avoid girls for another 5 or 6 years.
    I have been happily married for 53 years my mate’s ‘marriage’ hidden from family for 12 years till our 35 birthday when his mum gave her blessing to his partner.
    Sadly, they are dead but it is obvious to me that they were as happily ‘married’ as us and his ‘gay’ was as ‘born’ as me.
    In this question, as the political ‘no’ conscience is invariably driven by christian beliefs, special consideration could be given to those too indoctrinated to vote yes and would be expelled under a binding yes vote. They could make a submission to seek a caucus approved abstention.

  40. Lee

    Homosexuality has been observed in 150 different species. With all the crap gay people have faced throughout history, no one would choose to be gay.

  41. Logical Argument Please

    Thanks Lee, Many people do things, and have done so for eons that never will be approved by society. Why have laws? Laws are for the curbing of the unlawful. Behaviours of anyone hetrosexual an homsexual etc. can and will be judged according to the rights of others. That’s why the gay movement is trying so hard to change homosexuality from their choice to their orientation, to obfuscate the real cause; is the same to be applied to other forms of sexual behaviour e.g pedophillia, after all they love (lust for?) children, but hey if it’s their orientation then can’t they argue the same way as homosexual s now do; they could also desire laws to support them continuing their behaviours and everyone else, well keep your nose out of my business. If you can’t see the difference between human and non humans regarding your freedom to choose with moral fibre, truth, honesty, respect, compliance then you are heading down the wrong alley IMO.

    I am not a huge fan of Neo Darwinian evolution. Nevertheless, there is some clear evidence that natural selection (and sexual selection) does act upon populations and has acted on our own species to produce racial differences. Natural selection postulates that those genetic mutations that favor survival and reproduction will be selected, whereas those that compromise survival and reproduction will be eliminated. Obviously, a gene or series of genes that produce non-reproducing individuals (i.e., those who express pure homosexual behavior) will be rapidly eliminated from any population. So, it would be expected that any “gay gene” would be efficiently removed from a population. However, it is possible that a gene favoring male homosexuality could “hide” within the human genome if it were located on the X-chromosome, where it could be carried by reproducing females, and not be subject to negative selection by non-reproducing males.

    Within the last decade, genetic analysis of heritable traits has taken a huge step forward with the advent of DNA microarray technology. Using this technology, it is possible to scan large lengths of the human genome (even an entire genome wide scan—GWAS) for numerous individuals, at quite reasonable costs. This DNA microarray technology has led to the discovery of genes that are associated with complex diseases. If homosexuality truly has a genetic component, DNA microarray studies would not only definitively prove the point, but would identify specific gene(s) or loci that might be associated with those who express a homosexual orientation. A more general study, examining mate choice among different populations, found no genetic link. The largest genome wide scan was conducted with unrelated men and 5570 unrelated women of European ancestry who were analysed by GWAS. Although unpublished, the data was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in San Francisco, showing that there were no loci associated with sexual orientation, including Xq28 on the X chromosome. So, the preliminary studies on possible genetic causes of homosexual orientation tends to rule out any dramatic genetic component to sexual orientation. In humans…!!

  42. trishcorry

    eli nes. Thank you for your comments on the questions posed above and thank you for sharing your story. In Labor, they need to vote on things that as an individual they may not agree with. Penny Wong had to vote as part of the platform for her own discrimination. There was no big scene about this that I recall; but people are up in arms about voting against her discrimination. It makes me mad to be honest. I wonder how many of these members who want to vote no to marriage equality, have thought about how Senator Wong felt when she had to say yes to marriage inequality.

  43. miriamenglish

    LAP, it is really interesting to watch you attempt to construct a reasonable argument and see things through the filter of your prejudices. No matter what is said, you always see gay people as morally wrong and you’ll ignore any contradicting points.

    You try to sound objective, but your arguments always begin from a point of homosexuality being an immoral choice. This betrays your motivation. You are not really interested in the facts — you are picking whatever facts you hope will validate your moral judgement and ignoring any that demolish it.

    You make a strange attempt to say that if homosexuality was genetic that it would be eliminated from the population because non-reproducing individuals would be bred out of the population. However you ignore all the other work on this, for instance the findings that close relatives of gay people may have a better record at successfully raising offspring, and other work on the social aspect, such as the fact that we’re a social species means that being able to look after our siblings’ kids can propagate the genes of those who forego breeding themselves. As I said before I know of lesbians who include the male in the upbringing of the child. Konrad Lorenz famously details an example of a pair of ganders (male geese) who had bonded for life (as geese do) and a female goose would push herself between them when they courted. She was more successful than other geese at raising her brood because they had 3 parents.

    But it almost doesn’t matter whether being gay is genetic or not. Sure, a genetic cause makes it impossible for bigots to say that gays are being wayward if their innate design is to be gay, but those people will still judge others to be vermin anyway, just as the Nazis considered Gypsies, Jews, and blacks to be vermin despite firmly genuine difference.

    You’re setting up the genetic aspect to be a misdirect. You then attempt to destroy it, thereby justifying your denouncement of people who are different. In fact your argument against a genetic component amounts to “we haven’t found it yet so it doesn’t exist“, which is clearly flawed.

    I find it particularly revealing that you equate homosexuality with pedophiles, when they appear to be quite different. One of my favorite writers, Robert Heinlein, described love brilliantly:
    Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
    It would seem that pedophilia has little to do with love and everything to do with sexual fixation, more akin to a fetish. I am sure there are many straight people whose attraction can be simply described as little more than a fixation, especially those fools who beat or even kill those who they say they “love”. Likewise, I’m sure many gay people feel that way too. However, many straight people truly do deeply and honestly love their partners, just as many gay people deeply and honestly love their partners too, in exactly this genuine manner. A straight person would usually find it difficult or impossible to feel this magic about someone of the same sex. In the same way, gay people usually find it impossible to feel this core commitment to someone of the opposite sex. Some lucky people can be attracted to either sex. We call them bisexual, but most people seem to be locked to a basic maleness or femaleness for the target of their affections.

    There have been many cases of gay people who have hated being gay so much that they’ve spent years going through behavioral clinics in a harrowing attempt to replace their homosexuality with straight attraction. The consensus now is that it just doesn’t work. There doesn’t appear to be any way to change a person’s orientation from gay to straight or straight to gay. Whether it is set by genes, or whether it is set by early experiences, it is set in stone for the rest of the person’s life, and there is nothing they can do about it (other than forcing themselves to live a lie, which is not fair to them or their straight partner).

    You distance humans from non-humans with a circular argument where you imply that it is a moral choice in humans (regardless of it not being so in all the species who are apparently unable to make moral choices). You begin with the idea that homosexuality is a moral choice and based upon that you draw the conclusion that because humans can make moral choices that to choose homosexuality is an immoral choice. Do you not see how broken that reasoning is? Your conclusion depends utterly upon your starting prejudice — there is no truth-seeking involved, merely a simplistic attempt to confirm prejudice.

    But I think I’m wasting my breath. If you were going to honestly confront your hate for gay people you would answer some of the other points I raised earlier:

    – If your morality is based on sexually transmitted disease then why ignore lesbians? They have a vastly lower incidence of STDs than straights or gay males. Given this point, if you were going to legislate against marriage as a way to reduce disease then you’d have to make marriage to males illegal. See how ridiculous your argument becomes?

    – If you think design of sexual organs is sufficient reason to pronounce homosexuality “wrong” then how do you explain all the animals where it doesn’t relate? (For example, species that have standard sex organs, but which are entirely lesbian, and other species that have male and female members but can produce multiple generations through parthenogenesis.) You will, of course, want to dismiss this, as you do all examples of non-humans, but to do so reduces your argument once again to prejudice: it is wrong because it is wrong.

    – How do you dismiss the genetic argument when the evidence is actually not conclusive?

  44. Lee

    Good posts, Miriam, thank you. You have more patience than me to respond at length.

    I tried to post this last night in response to LAP but couldn’t.

    The laws against homosexuality are based on belief in a mythical sky daddy.

    Homosexuals are not rapidly being eliminated from the population. They continue to be produced by breeding heterosexuals, who are reproducing more than enough to replenish the population.

    Homosexuals and other non-breeding individuals in various species, including humans, often do play a part in raising the next generation produced by their parents and their siblings. so the belief that they don’t contribute to continuation of the species is quite erroneous.

  45. miriamenglish

    Thanks Lee.

    Unfortunately I think it is probably futile. LAP thinks he argues logically, but sadly never realises how very illogical he is. I don’t think he’s deliberately dishonest, but I don’t expect to ever change the preconceptions of someone who begins from the standpoint of gay=bad then cherry-picks data only in an effort to support their conviction.

    The best I can hope for is that someone who has not already formed an airtight conclusion might read it and realise how mistaken the “arguments” against gays are, and why. Or perhaps someone will now be pre-armed to do battle with prejudice encountered elsewhere.

    Good one. I didn’t think of the point that it doesn’t make sense to criticise gays for not being able to breed, as it has become a potentially species saving quality, now that out-of-control breeding has put all life on the planet at risk. We need to reduce the number of babies issuing from straight couples. It’s a good thing to have gay couples raising adopted children or helping to raise siblings’ kids, or even carefully and deliberately choosing to have a child (as opposed to accidentally having them). Note that in saying this I’m not trying to alienate straight couples — many of my best friends are straight people. 😀

  46. Logical Argument Please

    This is a debate, my personal beliefs on being gay or not are not on trial its gay marriage advocates that want to change laws to support their viewpoint and they are very active on that front. The studies about nature influencing people’s choices are self evident in studies over many years. Even the anatomical differences in the brain can readily be measured to ascertain that gender is wired into our brains. British love being British, each nation has and supports its patriotism etc. The studies on genetic predisposition to a sexual orientation to date seem inconclusive so why not report that as it is. In these debates why do many simply say differently and fire back with cries of hate, arrogance and sky daddy ! If the argument stands it will be obvious. I think gay marriage will be legislated, then time will reveal whether it was a wise move or not. Kingdoms before us have come and gone and historians often point out the reasons why they failed. If we fail then the reasons will be clear. Negative and harmful prejudice, unfortunately, will not be stamped out; old wounds don’t heal easily. I know a few gay people, and work with some, we get on well. They often complain about being segregated and I can see that. Its hard when on the end of prejudice, I can see that too. I don’t have any dark sinister attitude towards them or will ever actively rally against them. Who am I to become wrapped up in what they do? its up to each of us to walk our path and dreams and hopefully make a positive contribution to our sphere of influence. I have been married for 30 years to a fantastic lady who loves me and I her; two boys in their mid twenties and three granddaughters. None of us have a criminal record and all work, pay taxes and enjoy life. I hope we can all do that. But I do think we have to live life with caution as lots of things may be lawful but not necessarily beneficial, useful and advantageous. I happen to see sexual conduct plays an important part and needs to be managed by each of us to avoid risking our children, ourselves and others and society.

  47. Get Over Your Homophobia!

    miriamenglish and Lee – thank you both for an excellent, and at time indefectible justified logical demolition of those that refuse to or cannot both see the importance of equal opportunity marriage, both as a pivotal issue and for those constrained by arcane and unfair Australian homophobic based legislation.

  48. miriamenglish

    LAP, you think you don’t have sinister intent, but I believe you simply hide it very well from yourself. You declare such things as:

    “Homosexual behavior is still illegal in many states because it spreads disease and dysfunction.”

    “That’s why marriage is closed to homosexuals. It is an institution designed to protect and strengthen the natural family, which is itself rooted in the procreative heterosexual design we all share.”

    “If you can’t see the difference between human and non humans regarding your freedom to choose with moral fibre, truth, honesty, respect, compliance then you are heading down the wrong alley” (the implication being that to choose homosexuality is immoral).

    When you say such things it is like the racist who calls a black-skinned person an ape, but fails to see how that’s hateful, and thinks they are being reasonable. It’s like those men who consider women as inferior forms of humanity, but insist they mean no harm by it and that they “love” women.

    Gay people do not choose to be gay any more than a straight person chooses to be straight. Many (probably most) gay people, faced with a life of exclusion and hate would gladly trade it for being straight, but they can’t. The closest they can get is either to live their lives relatively hidden, or else living a lie in what passes for a straight relationship, which is neither fair to them nor their straight partner.

    I’m puzzled by your reference to patriotism and British loving being British. Are you honestly trying to equate this to being gay, and the hatred it generates in those around them, causing hundreds of anguished suicides every year? Gay people have begun to push back against the hate and the utter loneliness and despair it produces. They are choosing to be proud of who they are. And they have every right to be proud. Gay people have contributed to society far more than their small percentage would suggest. The computer you send these messages from was largely developed by a gay man, Alan Turing. Many of the world’s greatest music, written works, movies, inventions, scientific discoveries, were made by gay people. Without them our society would be immeasureably poorer culturally and technologically. Gay people have every reason to be proud, but it isn’t a ridiculous pride like nationalism. It’s a response to those who hate and trample them because unfeeling statements like yours above, enable them to be denied ordinary everyday rights, and worse, excuse them being terrorised and murdered.

    You say you’ll never rally against them (gay people), but you’re lying to yourself. As your words above demonstrate, you do rally against us. You are more than happy to speak out against gay people. You merely excuse yourself with selective amnesia.

  49. miriamenglish

    GOYH, 🙂 Thanks. You’ve added another word to my vocabulary: indefectible. I had to look it up. Cool!

  50. Realist

    I find “Logical Argument”‘s views irrelevant. Australian adult taxpayers can be heterosexual or homosexual, but only the former are currently entitled to have their relationships officially ratified. Equality means both heterosexuals and homosexuals should have this option, or else neither.
    Paedophilia is against the law. Maybe one day there will be a push to legalise it, and we’ll see how far that gets. Personally, I don’t think it would get very far, for the simple reason that a child is not regarded as having enough experience or maturity to consent to such a relationship. it is a medically proven fact. So the slippery slope argument is pointless. Same-sex marriage and paedophilia are two distinct issues that have nothing to do with each other.
    As for the objections to homosexuality (“it spreads disease and dysfunction”), these too are irrelevant to the simple matter of the official ratification of an adult relationship. Plenty of heterosexual relationships are dysfunctional, yet no one suggests that all such marriages be banned in case they turn out badly. Unprotected gay sex with somebody who is HIV positive may spread AIDS: the gay community is well aware of this, as is the medical fraternity, and they both have been working tirelessly for two decades to spread information about avoiding it. But a homosexual orientation does not make you sick. You don’t wither away and die because you’ve fallen in love with someone of the same sex. So let’s keep this argument in perspective. The truth, which has been borne out in other countries where the marriage laws have broadened, is this: Allowing same-sex partners to marry has no discernible effect on the children of heterosexual marriages, or the heterosexual marriages themselves, or the children who may be already part of a gay or lesbian household, or indeed anybody at all except the people who wish to avail themselves of the marriage ceremony. Oh, and their families, who are usually delighted. Anyone disputing that is simply revealing prejudices and antipathies that possibly stem from personal experience or upbringing, and attempting to justify them through the use of spurious, pseudo-philosophical verbiage. I prefer the reality.

  51. Tor Walker

    Regarding pedophilia being an equivalent sexual orientation to homo or hetero sexuality – the definition of legal, and healthy, sexual behaviour is predicated upon the concept of informed consent. This requires that the beings engaged in the behaviour both , or I suppose all, are old enough to consent and mentally capable of consent. A non-sentient animal is not capable of consent nor is one we would consider semi-sentient. This is why bestiality is and should remain, illegal. A child is not legally able to consent nor emotionally/mentally prepared for the consequences of consent and so they are classed as unable to give informed consent despite being fully sentient beings. This is why pedophilia is, and should remain, illegal. A person who has severe mental damage may also be unable to consent, as is someone who is drugged, unconscious or incapacitated. This means that engaging in sexual acts with them is rape and why rape is, and should remain, illegal. People who desire to engage in sexual activities with those who are unable to consent are not expressing a sexual orientation, they are expressing a desire to do harm.

    Homosexuality, like hetero or bi or asexuality, is the desire to share a relationship – be it as short as an hour or as long as a lifetime – with another who is capable of reciprocating the emotional, physical and mental investment. Such relationships serve far more purpose than reproduction – they contribute to mental and emotional well being. They allow for connections between us to be strengthened and provide solace in times of trial. A lover can be an outlet, a rock, a therapist and a friend or simply someone whose life briefly touches, and hopefully enriches, our own. The sexual aspect of the relationship may be the focus or completely nonexistent – the importance is meeting those with whom you share a connection, however brief. (Do note that I said SHARE a connection, not feel a connection.)

    Homosexuality (or hetero, bi or asexuality) is in no way comparable to pedophilia or bestiality and I am increasingly angry at hearing people use that as an argument, not to mention more than a little disturbed. After all surely everyone can see the difference between behaviour that is assault and behaviour that is consensual.

  52. Logical Argument Please

    Pedophillia is illegal ? No….. and age of consent is law, well I never….

    My assertion is the acceptance of sexual orientation is all nature, dare I say, even in the name of love, therapy ect. could provide the pedophile and pederasty supporters a platform to launching their own battles in an attempt to decriminalise their nature.

    Have a read about the Rind et al. controversy. The Rind paper has been quoted by people and organizations advocating age of consent reform, pedophile or pederasty groups in support of their efforts to change attitudes towards pedophile and pederasty to decriminalize sexual activity between adults and minors (children or adolescents), and by defense attorneys who have used the study to minimize harm in child sexual abuse cases. Man, what a flurry of activity, mandates and law changes that precipitated. While the study was ultimately discredited some further studies did indicate some support of Rind findings.

    In the Netherlands pedophile political parties have formed and abandoned, but they do exist !

    North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Events such as Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign in 1977, and a police raid of Toronto-area gay newspaper The Body Politic for publishing “Men Loving Boys Loving Men,” set the stage for the founding of NAMBLA.

    In December 1977, police raided a house in the Boston suburb of Revere. Twenty-four men were arrested and indicted on over 100 felony counts of the statutory rape of boys aged eight to fifteen. Suffolk County District Attorney Garrett Byrne found that the men used drugs and video games to lure the boys into a house, where they photographed them as they engaged in sexual activity.

    The men were members of a “sex ring”, and Byrne said that the arrest was only “the tip of the iceberg.” The arrests sparked intense media coverage, and local newspapers published the photographs and personal information of the accused men.

    The “Boston-Boise Committee”, a gay rights organization, formed in response to these events and to protect the “rights of gay men” and promote “gay solidarity.”

    NAMBLA’s founding was inspired by this gay rights organization. It was co-founded by the gay historian David Thorstad.

    Don’t be fooled, sexual conduct and its pursuit has a major impact on society. There are numerous pedophille and pedestry advocates around the world that are always ready to jump at any and all opportunities to drive a wedge into a legal system.

    History tells us pedophile attraction to minors and pederasty have many times been socially accepted in some cultures; these days thankfully most countries enact child abuse laws.

    There are bad examples of sexual conduct in all factions of life on earth; politicians, priests, school teachers, mums & dads; domination, violence, unprotected sex, abuse, incest, crimes of passion. Legal minefields everywhere (and all the lawyers cheered).

    I’m not racist or homophobic. I’ve meet many gay people through work and friends. I’m not their judge. All I ask is that each of us considers the responsibility of our freedom and choices for the positive and understand risks are not fictional or fantastic. What effect does my life choice have on others. Ask that question

  53. Lee

    What a load of bollocks. Male pedophiles have female victims now, yet no one considers outlawing heterosexual sex.

  54. miriamenglish

    LAP, the vast majority of pedophiles are MEN attracted to GIRLS, yet as Lee points out, this doesn’t become an argument for outlawing hetero sex.

    Most people, straight and gay, are repelled by pedophilia. And despite pushes by pedophiles it will never be legalised, simply because a child can never be considered a consenting partner, and if your partner is not consenting then it is assault.

    LAP, the fact that you continually push this kind of distortion of the facts in order to create a false association between gay people and immorality clearly shows that you are homophobic and that you do indeed judge gay people very harshly and with deep malevolence.

    I know you don’t think you do, just as the slave-owners used to whip their slaves half to death, yet managed to convince themselves that they didn’t hate them, but were doing it for the good of the slaves, simply because their nature required it.

    Look honestly inside yourself. How could you possibly associate pedophilia with gays when most pedophiles are hetero? How could you attribute the spread of disease and dysfunction to gay people when most sexually transmitted disease (including AIDS) is spread by straight people? (Nobody would ever consider banning males from sex, even though it is mostly men who spread STDs — homosexual women are safest from STDs). How could you possibly indulge in such irrational scare campaigns if you had not successfully hidden your homophobia from yourself? Ask yourself honestly, please.

  55. Tor Walker

    As LAP failed to address or acknowledge the point that children are unable to be consenting partners and therefore pedophilia is assault I must conclude that he/she is either a fanatic on the subject or a troll. Neither of these is worth arguing with. Lee and Miriam English made a good point that pedophilia is not solely a matter between men and boys but far more likely to occur between men and girls. It is also, unfortunately, more likely to occur with a trusted family associate than with a stranger.

    Informed consent is the basis of a good sexual experience. Children cannot consent, although I will accept that there is some issue about the age they become able to consent. Personally I feel that 16 is a good age as most children have undergone puberty and the associated mental and physical changes associated with that. They should have begun to understand their own issues and have hopefully had proper sex education to learn about STIs, contraception, consent and the reality of having children. Some people will not feel ready at 16 – I didn’t. The important thing is to provide a safe time for a child to grow into themselves and move into adulthood knowing that they are prepared to choose for themselves.

    Consent is and should be the important aspect of any relationship. Can the person consent – legally, sure, but also are they physically and mentally capable of informed consent. Anyone under the age of at least 15 is not mentally or emotionally an adult and under the age of 12 to 14 they are physically not mature enough to engage in sex acts. Who can really claim that at 14 they really understood what sex and sexuality was? Even 16 is too young for some and there are those who, due to illness, injury or disability, will never be able to consent.

    Pedophilia should be called what it is -rape. One partner is not able to consent, is not prepared for the consequences of consent. Rape is, unfortunately, not treated as seriously by many cultures as it should be. We should not be wasting our energy fighting about what consenting adults get up to with other consenting adults. We should be focusing instead on supporting and defending those adults and children alike who have been or are at risk of rape.Anyone who cannot see the difference between the violation inherent in rape and a consensual relationship between two adults is not a person I think worth knowing, and certainly not someone I would trust in my life.

  56. diannaart

    Well said, Tor

    Biased, prejudiced and the downright bigoted frequently attempt to link whatever form of appalling human behaviour to a specific and targeted group of people – such as linking paedophilia to homosexuals. Exactly what LAP is doing here – trying to convince others that equality for homosexuals in marriage will somehow result in adults marrying children.

    We should not be wasting our energy fighting about what consenting adults get up to with other consenting adults

    Of course there is precedent for adults marrying children – in most early religions and more primitive societies – and still occurs in the less regulated parts of the planet. Perhaps, LAP, could better utilise his/her energy and focus upon the significant numbers of paedophiles horribly active in many world wide religions and other organisations where children are placed in the trust of adults.

  57. miriamenglish

    Excellent point Dianna!

    From now on whenever someone attempts to link homosexuality with pedophilia I shall respond by explaining that they are mistaken, as most pedophiles are heterosexual, however their idea that we should move against groups that show great concentrations of pedophilic activity has some merit so we make all religious institutions illegal.

    This should make such people think more carefully about making stupid leaps of judgement, as most of these bigots tend, in my experience, to be religious. >:)

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