IN response to the spate of letters regarding gay marriage, I would like to call for more considered arguments from both sides of the debate.
I am heterosexual, atheist, politically libertarian, and a supporter of gay marriage.
Opponents frequently employ disturbingly hateful and deliberately inflammatory language, such as G.J. May’s use of the term sodomites (The Advertiser, 22/11/10), while simultaneously claiming they have no objection to the unions of such people, so long as they are not labelled as marriage.
This tactic of hiding what I would regard as outright bigotry behind semantic arguments is employed all too often.
Supporters, however, must avoid relying on a similar style of emotionally intense but ultimately flimsy rhetoric. Thus, David Somerfield accuses P.J. Paule of making the outrageous claims that people are not born gay and further that exposing a child to gay parents will make the child catch gayness, as if it is a contagious disease (The Advertiser, 25/11/10).
This is a flawed line of argument. For one thing, P.J. Paule did not use the phrase catch “gayness”, which is far more offensive in tone than the actual quotation claiming young adults raised by lesbians were significantly more likely to have a same-sex relationship (The Advertiser, 24/11/10).
Secondly, what is so offensive about this particular claim, anyway? I would hate to think some people only support gay marriage because they believe homosexuality is a genetically determined condition, making it unfair to punish gays and lesbians for something they cannot control.
As a libertarian, I want a society where people are not punished for any aspect of their lifestyle, be it determined by genetics, environment, or personal choice.
BEN ADAMS, Park Holme.
The Advertiser, Nov 27, 2010, p76