Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stop Comparing Homosexuality to Rape

It seems like every time some news item comes out about LGB people, either as individuals or as a group trying to secure their equality, people claiming to be Christians pop out of the woodwork and compaire being LGB to practicing pedophilia or bestiality, or they quote the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

If you think this makes you look like you're taking the moral high ground, I have news for you. It doesn't. In fact, it makes you look so immoral that you can't even tell the difference between consensual sex and rape. It makes you look like a monster.

There's consensual sex-- two adults in full control of their faculties and without coercion agree to have sex and do so. Then there's non-consensual sex, AKA rape. This includes one or more people coercing another person to have sex through force, threat, drugs, or power differential. This also includes taking advantage of a situation where the other person cannot consent to sex because they are under the influence of drugs, or are injured, unconscious, disabled in such a way as to not understand what they are consenting to, or are too young to understand what they are consenting to.

  • Pedophilia is rape. Children do not have the capacity to consent to sex. The adult is using a power differential to coerce sex.
  • Bestiality is rape. Animals do not have the capacity to consent to sex with a human. The human is using a power differential to coerce sex.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah is about rape. The men of Sodom were using their greater number and their hometown advantage to "know" the strangers. The common argument here is that this is meant sexually. It's an attempted gang rape, and a rape of non-humans at that. (There are other non-sexual interpretations of this passage, but they don't come up in discussions of LGBT people, so we'll go with the sexual interpretation here.)

    Two same-sex-attracted adults who both consent to a sexual liaison without coercion is not rape. When you compare homosexuality to bestiality, pedophilia, or the attempted gang rape in Sodom, you're demonstrating that you don't understand consent.

    If you can't distinguish consensual sex and rape, why would anyone trust you on any moral matter? Why should we trust you preaching our sermons, teaching our children, leading our nation or communities, hearing court cases, or extending aid to the vulnerable members of our communities?

    If you want to present yourselves as the moral guardians of our children and our nation, stop making arguments that paint yourselves as immoral monsters.

  • Friday, November 22, 2013

    Regarding Indiana HJR-6

    Indiana's HJR-6 proposes to amend the state constitution to add the following: "Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized."

    I have a few questions.

    1) It is my understanding that this is already a law in the state of Indiana and has been since 2004, so this merely cements the law to be beyond the reach of the simple democratic process such that a laborious process would have to be undergone to modify this law in any way. This strikes me as unwise. On what grounds would you support placing modification of Indiana's marriage laws outside of simple democratic process?

    2) Approximately 1 in 200 people are intersex-- having characteristics of both male and female. Given the census data of 6,483,802 people in Indiana in 2010, this would indicate that Indiana has over 32,000 intersex individuals living here. Are these individuals barred from getting married in Indiana, or having their out-of-state marriages recognized and protected in Indiana, because they are neither fully male or female?

    3) A female-to-male transsexual married while he was still legally female. Now that he is male, would his marriage be invalid and unrecognized because it consists of two men? Or, since he entered the marriage when he was legally female, would his marriage be recognized in this state? I have friends who were both assigned female at birth, but one considers himself to be male, though he has not transitioned. They are planning to get married soon in a state that allows same-sex marriages. If he were to later transition to male, would his marriage become recognized in the state of Indiana? How would the state then handle the period of time where his marriage was not recognized as valid in Indiana? Was it still not valid for that period of time?

    4) If a same-sex couple married in another state were to seek a divorce, could they do so through the Indiana court system? Are children born to same-sex couples married out-of-state considered to be born out-of-wedlock? If the state refuses to recognize same-sex marriages, does this remove parental rights from one of the parents of children of these marriages? How do you determine which parent loses parental rights? Can schools recognize the parental rights of both parents, or is that recognizing a legal status substantially similar to marriage? How about hospitals?

    5) If a person in a same-sex marriage is hospitalized and unable to make medical decisions, is the hospital prevented from recognizing their spouse's right to make medical decisions for them due to this law?

    6) Would corporations who offer same-sex partner benefits be unable to do so in Indiana because it is a violation of the state constitution? Would state-funded universities who offer same-sex partner benefits be stopped from offering them? Corporations or hospitals who take state funds?

    7) If a man and woman in a common-law marriage were to get into a domestic dispute, could they seek relationship counseling and mediation from a state-run agency or would their relationship-- unmarried but identical or substantially similar to marriage-- disqualify them? If the dispute were to turn violent or abusive, will state agencies proffer help to the abused partner-- police and courts treat the case as a domestic abuse case and shelters for victims of domestic abuse recognize it as such-- or are they regarded as strangers in the eyes of the law due to this amendment?

    8) The same questions as number 7, but for a same-sex couple legally married out-of-state but residing in Indiana.

    9) Are you okay with losing employment opportunities for Hoosiers if corporations choose to leave the state or not move factories or offices to the state due to this constitutional amendment? Are you okay with losing tourism and university students and staff? Are you okay with a brain drain of artists, musicians, scientists, engineers, doctors, and other highly educated professionals who may choose to leave Indiana or not move here in the first place because it negatively impacts their family or personally offends their ethics of legal equality?

    10) A native American two-spirit enters into a same-sex marriage in a state that legally recognizes them and then later moves to Indiana. Would the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion outweigh the law such that his marriage-- legal in his state and recognized by his religion-- would be recognized and valid in Indiana? What about a person legally recognized as a Hijra in India who now resides in Indiana? Because India recognizes her as a third sex and neither male nor female, is she unable to marry in Indiana? Or is she regarded as a woman for purposes of this law because of the female pronouns and social roles? Or is she male because her birth sex is male? A same-sex couple, legally married in their home nation, enters Indiana as tourists. Is their status as a married couple protected or does the state offer no protections to them? Does this status change if they remain as legal immigrants?

    11) Can you give me a non-religious reason (as our constitution guarantees freedom of religion) for this amendment? Please, note, I do not consider a state interest in procreation as a valid reason for this restriction unless the state also restricts non-fertile couples from marriage. Please, explain why a prohibition of some sects of the Abrahamic religions is preferred over the beliefs of other religions which recognize and embrace same-sex couples.

    Please, keep in mind I am a straight, cisgender Christian who has been married for 26 years. I consider this legislation to be a threat to both my religious freedom and my marriage as it establishes a legal precedence for preferring the religious tenets of one religion above another and of the state empowering itself to invalidate or not recognize the status of legal marriages. If you stand for the religious freedoms and protections of the marriages of your constituents, you must oppose this amendment. Sincerely, Lynette R. F. Cowper