Saturday, 1 June 2013

Independent: On Human Sexuality
Sunday, 26 May 2013, 08:30 , by Michael Asciak

Much has been written and said lately about human sexuality. Some of it stems from reason, much of it from pure emotivism. Sex and procreation have gone together since the times before humans appeared on earth. Sexual reproduction evolved as an advantageous type over asexual reproduction because it endowed the species with genetic variation and therefore better able to withstand natural holocausts and avoid extinction. When humans evolved into the higher order mammals that they are, they received the sexual baggage that all other mammals had. Being sexual creatures that consisted of two equal but different genders to the species, they necessarily complemented each other anatomically in copulation and this led to the generation of their offspring. So does practically every higher order biological creature save the lower order species. Even plants contain gender! Human sexuality has existed since the existence of human beings but sexual reproduction itself preceded it by several million years. Since the human species is the only highly self-reflective species on earth, the nature of its sexuality does not hinge solely on procreation but also on agapic mutual sharing of love and emotions. One end of our sexuality does not exist without the other. So it has been for hundreds of thousands of years, generation after generation. It does not make any sense to look at human sexuality without both of these finalities closely intertwined.

I write this to put natural law and reason into perspective before we move on to deal with the issues with which we were recently preoccupied. Homosexual feelings occur when one gender experiences sexual arousal or attractions towards members of the same sex instead of the opposite sex as is of course the natural norm complementing intercourse and procreation. People seem to think that all of us are either completely homosexual in our orientation or completely heterosexual. In fact, studies have shown that none of us is either the one or the other. Psychologist Alfred Kinsey developed a scale from 0 to 6 where the 0 represents absolute heterosexuality and the 6 represents absolute homosexual feelings. The reality is that very few if anybody, is either on the 0 or the 6 scale. People find it hard to realize or accept that we are all somewhere in between in our sexual orientations, with people below 3 being mostly heterosexual, people above 3 being mostly homosexual and those on 3 having equal attractions to both sexes. Our sexual orientations are the products of our nurturing environment and probably our genetic heritage too. Either way no person is to blame for his or her sexual orientation whether it is natural or nurtural or both. Sexual action of course is another matter. Whereas sexual orientation is not directly willed by the individual, sexual action and choices can in fact be directly willed and there is a matter of choice, at least for those who are not at the extreme ends of the scale, in what type of sexual activity they indulge in. It is also known that sexual orientation can change with age. It is well documented that youths often exhibit quite profound traits of homosexuality that become much less profound as they grow older and more mature.

I am writing all this to dispel the impression that sexuality is an all or none phenomenon and that there is no issue of will involved in the matter at all, at least for those close to the centre of the scale spectrum. For those at the extremes it is more difficult of course. Intolerance for either choice should be out of the question!

As I have written previously, I am not against society making efforts to creating space within society to validate the relationship between two homosexuals and engender tolerance. One of course can discuss what forms this may take. The gross mistake is, of course, when society starts to equate the relationship between two homosexuals or transgender persons with marriage itself. This is not possible because the nature of the homosexual relationship is intrinsically different and it can never be open to procreation both of which are an essential component of marriage itself. People will of course speak about natural rights and wanting to be equal to others here. The point remains one can always be equal to another in rights but often never in physical fact. The calling of these rights as natural rights is also a misnomer and a mistake because natural rights are necessarily and intrinsically built on natural law itself (John Finnis; Hadley Arkes). They can at best be called civil rights or positive rights but not natural rights and are therefore not fundamental, as they do not arise from reason and nature.

I am very much afraid that granting rights to homosexuals to marry would be followed by the next step that leads them to ask for procreative rights, thereby necessitating the intervention of a third person in the sexual act thereby leading to the production of children with three rather than two parents, using surrogacy or the donation of gametes. This is not an ideal situation for the child even if it may seem like solving the problems of the homosexual or transgender couple. Prevention is always better than cure and this type of scenario should be avoided in society ab initio at all costs and should not be equated with adoption, which is an extraordinary situation where the interests of an orphaned or abandoned child are paramount. However ordinarily, regularly and necessarily the best interests of the child are always to be raised by its own natural parents. There are of course contingent exceptions but these should remain as such, just exceptions and should not ever constitute the rule. The issue of whether children regularly raised by homosexuals are at no risk to their health compared to children raised by heterosexuals is still highly contested and by no means a closed case. At best we may say we do not know. At worse common sense tells us that there is a natural law distinction here. Either way something is wrong with our reasoning. Distinctions drawn by the mind and emotions are not necessarily equivalent to distinctions in reality! Law is nothing other than a certain ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by the person who has the care of the community. Either way, should we rush in where angels fear to tread and take a chance with the life of our own beloved children?

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