Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Constitutionality, lifestyle choices and the sex police

Mark Dorroh

I've discovered doctrinaire liberals believe two things:

1. Most people aren't very smart, and

2. They, the clever liberals, must make certain decisions for us, lest we injure society through our stupidity.

That's the main reason the average American worker pays out in taxes 40 cents of each dollar earned. The assumption is that we would not make wise choices on how to spend our money, so the government has to do it for us.

But before we condemn liberals too harshly, we must recognize the unfortunate fact that these days, many supposed conservatives are every bit as willing to use the power of government to tell citizens what to do with their property, up to and including their own bodies. Since one's body is one's most fundamental possession, anyone who believes in property rights must find such strictures offensive. It's bad enough to be told what you must do with nearly half your income, how much more ridiculous and wrong is it to be told what you may not do with 100 percent of your own body?

Court decisions decriminalizing sexual activity between consenting adults have been derided as "judicial activism," but they're really just recognition of the fact that government has never possessed any Constitutionally-derived power to regulate what goes on between consenting adults behind closed doors. The reason the rulings are happening now is, legal awareness is finally catching up with the outrage of gay and lesbian citizens, who are justly sick of government usurpation of unwarranted control over their private lives.

There are those who say the court rulings open the door to legal child molestation, bestiality and incest. But anyone who claims they can't see the difference between adults having sex with each other and adults preying on children, animals or their own siblings is being deliberately obtuse.

Children are not mature enough to make decisions about with whom they will engage in sexual activity: They are also not old enough to sign binding contracts or vote, so a clear precedent is established in regard to what adults can and cannot do with kids.

Bestiality violates laws against cruelty to animals.

And a quick study of the egregious genetic mistakes birthed in the final generations in ancient Egyptian royal dynasties will make evident the biological necessity of leaving in place our laws against incest.

There are no such reality-based reasons to forbid homosexual or lesbian romance, or even marriage. If the members of a given church decide they want to honor marriages between same-sex partners, isn't their right to do so protected by First Amendment guarantees against government interference with free exercise of religion?

Yeah, I know, Mormons had to give up polygamy before Utah could join the Union, but there have been precious few polygamous, polyandrous, homosexual or lesbian unions that have done anything like the damage to society as that done by one man/one woman couples having out-of-wedlock babies.

Letting government remain in the business of prohibiting homosexual and lesbian behavior makes about as much less sense as the welfare state practice of paying heterosexual parents to sit home, unemployed, having baby after baby for us to support. Charity should be voluntary, neither mandated nor prohibited by government. So should love, sex and marriage.

Finally, there's a fairness issue here. It flies in the face of everything we know about human nature to think sexual orientation could be the result of a "lifestyle choice." Ask a gay guy when he first became aware of his proclivities; he'll tell you between the ages of about eight and eighteen. The same thing goes for his lesbian gal pal. And honestly, can anyone make a lifestyle choice at that age? Even if they could, kids and adolescents are notorious conformists, wanting nothing more than to be exactly like all their friends. The last thing one of them would ever choose to do would be to act different in such a basic and despised way.

No, our gay and lesbian fellow citizens are that way because that's how God made them. And unlike some folks who apparently know more than I do, I don't make a habit of criticizing God's work.

On the other hand, if you're put off by freakshow gay pride parades, welcome to the club. They are held mostly to freak out the straights … and they'll disappear when the straight community quits being freaked out by them.

All this yadda-yadda will eventually sort itself out, as the elder generation dies off and is replaced with people who have had openly gay and lesbian family members and friends for years. Their parents (and grandparents) knew plenty of gay and lesbian people too, but in the old days, they used to stay in the closet, if possible, their entire lives. Strangely, this was regarded as honorable. It was also terribly dishonest.

Traditional American values are and always have been those of honesty and forthrightness, not the furtive hiding of one's genuine nature to satisfy someone else's expectations. The only thing these anti-gay bashing rulings of federal and state courts have recognized is the fact that our Constitution does not now and never has had provisions for sex police.

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