Monday, 3 June 2013

Independent: Necessary and Contingent Dichotomy in Human Sexuality
Sunday, 02 June 2013, 08:57 , by Michael Asciak

I would like to carry on where I left off last week on the subject of human sexuality. But before I turn my attention to the subject matter contained in the title, I would like to make a very important clarification regarding natural law.

Many people think that natural law means looking at what happens in the natural world, the world of biology, physics and chemistry, and applying the principles therein evident to law and ethics. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth and those that conceive of natural law in this manner are completely mistaken or have never taken the time to study its real meaning.

Nature does, of course, teach us issues about ethics but not in the way many people think. Nature teaches us to look at the reason inherent in nature itself which is not a haphazard happening running headlong and unfolding in a haphazard fashion. Nature has a rationality all of its very own and it is towards this that we look for guidance. We ourselves are products of this nature and as such we are the epitome of rationality in the world in which we live. The real emphasis of natural law, therefore, has very little to do with nature itself per se and a great deal to do with our human reason. It has mostly to do with the norms that emanate through our use of our specific human reason.

In discussing human sexuality, and laying down ethical norms regarding concerns on human sexuality, we have to be very careful to identify what these norms of behaviour should be. There is a norm in human sexual behaviour, and the civil constructs within society that it has elicited, for the protection of the spouses themselves and their natural offspring. We may call this the necessity or regularity of events – which are facts that could not have been otherwise. Contingent facts are thought of as facts that might not have been. Necessary factors are those factors which, the world being as it is, are the way they had to be. They are necessary factors because something that might have been otherwise would have been otherwise, had things been otherwise. Contingency or emergencies only find their application within the context of necessity. In simple language, necessity constitutes the rule, contingency is the exception which proves the rule and exists within it. It is ultimately ethically wrong and unreasonable to make the exception the rule!

Last week I wrote about the effects of same-sex marriage versus those of civil union. This week I would like to concentrate on the health and well-being of children within heterogeneous and homosexual marriages or civil unions. Many reports are bandied about lauding the equality of raising children within a homosexual relationship as a necessary fact versus that in a heterosexual one. The fact is that, just as there are reports saying that this has no effects on the health of the children, there are other reports that state exactly the opposite. The reports stating that there are no adverse effects when children are raised in an openly homosexual household constitute an affront to natural reason itself but are also academically charged with critical flaws of design, bias, inadequacy, lack of controls and a failure to account for confounding variables – a including the short time-frames. So at best we are in a conundrum which I doubt we should ignore or to which we should haphazardly expose our children. I have even read pro-reports saying that, given that raising children in homosexual families does in fact give rise to higher homosexual activity and experimenting among themselves, this should not in any way be of concern, because in a society that is accepting and more tolerant, this behaviour would be tolerated and accepted as a norm by all.

I would like to quote from one letter written by several paediatricians under the tutelage of the Executive Director of the American College of Paediatricians (Vicki Tucci, 2006) in a paediatrics magazine. “Child-rearing studies have consistently indicated that children are more likely to thrive emotionally, mentally and physically in homes with two heterosexual parents...Homosexual partnerships are significantly more prone to dissolution than heterosexual marriages, with the average homosexual relationship lasting only two to thee years. Children reared in homosexual households are more likely to experience sexual confusion, practice homosexual behaviour and engage in sexual experimentation... and $are at increased risk of mental health problems including major depression, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, substance dependence, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts”. The – opposite – beneficial effects of being raised in intact families with father and mother parental roles are underlined.

The study goes on to state that homosexual households (2000) comprised less than one per cent of all households and most did not contain children. The number of children living full-time in a home with homosexual partners is between 0.2 per cent and 0.04 per cent. This means that the numbers are very small and also that most people involved in a homosexual union have no intention of raising children as a matter of fact. I believe the norms here are obvious for everyone to see. Does this mean that there are no contingencies where a homosexual household would be in a position to raise a child? This would depend very much on the best interests of the child concerned, considering the surrounding circumstances of the particular case. However this should never constitute the norm or necessary factor.

When I was at school learning Italian (and all other disciplines), we were taught that nouns ending in “o” should always be preceded by the article “il” as a norm. That is until the word “mano” appeared which needs the article “la”! That is the exception that proves the rule, but should it ever be made to constitute the norm? What would happen to the norm if that were to become the rule? We would have confusion. I do not wish confusion for society.

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