A recent full-page newspaper advertisement by the Indiana Family Institute attacked the notion that a homosexual orientation could be considered "morally neutral," and urged adoption of a tax-supported sex education curriculum that would identify…
A recent full-page newspaper advertisement by the Indiana Family Institute attacked the notion that a homosexual orientation could be considered "morally neutral," and urged adoption of a tax-supported sex education curriculum that would identify gays as morally deficient.
Now, I believe that this country was founded on a strong moral code. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights provide ample evidence of a value system based upon a shared vision of the moral state. But the morality that suffuses those documents concerns itself with matters far removed from your neighbor’s sex life.
In such a moral state, individuals must answer for their behaviors but may not be punished or disadvantaged for their identities. Americans have struggled to apply that principle to issues of race, and we are still struggling, but most of us understand that skin color is morally neutral. In China right now, male infants are so preferred (and the government is so intimately involved in childbearing, which it wants to limit) that girl babies are being aborted or murdered at birth. Much of our revulsion at this practice comes from our instinctive recognition that gender is morally neutral and it is wrong to punish people simply for being what they are. Over the past several years, genetic research has confirmed what many of us previously assumed: while it is never quite that simple, we are essentially born with our sexual identities. Like skin color and gender, those identities are inherent and thus morally neutral.
"Equal protection of the laws" (itself a moral principle) means that government must apply the same rules to everyone, and those rules must serve legitimate governmental purposes. Those of us who advocate for limited government define "legitimate purposes" quite narrowly; it is not the government’s business to tell me what to read, what church to attend, how many children to have, or how to spend my money. It is not government’s business to invade the bedrooms of consenting adults. So long as my behavior does not harm another person, so long as I am not stealing or damaging someone else’s property, I am entitled to that which Justice Brandeis once called "the right most treasured by civilized men: the right to be left alone." To which we might add the right to be treated like everybody else.
In America today, gays in committed, monogamous relationships (increasing numbers of which are being blessed by religious denominations) pay more taxes than married couples. They are frequently denied health insurance and other employment benefits; they cannot receive their partners’ Social Security benefits, or inherit their partners’ estates. They can’t even visit a partner who has been hospitalized without producing expensive legal documentation. No such disabilities exist for wife-beaters, rapists, child molesters or cheating spouses, none of whom have been singled out in full page ads as morally defective.
Thanks anyway, but I’d rather use my tax dollars for a new science lab.