Friday, April 03, 2009

Apparently, gays are incapable of opposite-sex marriage

Today, the Iowa Supreme Court shot down the ban on same-sex marriage:

What was there reasoning? That people should be able to marry whoever they want? Nope. I wish that were the case. Their reasoning is that gay men are incapable changing and will never be able to fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship with a woman and gay woman are equally incapable of fulfilling that need. It is one thing to say gay people should be able to marry whoever they want, and completely other thing to say they are incapable of being happily and faithfully married to a member of the opposite sex. Here is a section from the Iowa Supreme Court decision:

"Viewed in the complete context of marriage, including intimacy, civil marriage with a person of the opposite sex is as unappealing to a gay or lesbian person as civil marriage with a person of the same sex is to a heterosexual. Thus, the right of a gay or lesbian person under the marriage statute to enter into a civil marriage only with a person of the opposite sex is no right at all. Under such a law, gay or lesbian individuals cannot simultaneously fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation, and gain the civil status and attendant benefits granted by the statute. Instead, a gay or lesbian person can only gain the same rights under the 31 statute as a heterosexual person by negating the very trait that defines gay and lesbian people as a class - their sexual orientation."
"Accordingly, because sexual orientation is central to personal identity and ‘may be altered [if at all] only at the expense of significant damage to the individual’s sense of self,’ classifications based on sexual orientation are no less entitled to consideration as a suspect or quasi-suspect class than any other group that has been deemed to exhibit an immutable characteristic." (See complete statement:

For years I thought this was the case for me. I thought I would be incapable of fulfilling my deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship with a woman. Fortunately, I was wrong. I have changed. I am sexually attracted to a woman, and I am so happy being married, and I think way too many gay men and women sell themselves short are write off opposite sex relationships all together.

Are LGBT rights only for LGBT people who are openly seeking same sex relationships, or do these rights extend to all LGBT people, regardless of how they choose to live their lives? In order to be truly free, LGBT rights must recognize and respect the rights of all LGBT people, and making statements that gay men and women are incapable of a fulfilling opposite sex relationship is discriminatory.


  1. Anonymous1:46 PM

    Interesting. I really hadn't thought of it from this angle. It is refreshing to hear this from a different point of view.

  2. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Does your wife know you're gay -- or primarily attracted to men, if you think there's a difference? Did you tell her before marrying her?

  3. Yes. Her family also knows, as well as all my friends and family. I am quite open with my sexuality.

    I told her I was gay after dating for one month. She also watched as I changed. As I fell in love with her as a person I developed a sexual attraction to her, not from my sexual orientation, but from admiration for her as a person. Sexual orientation is a big part of sexual attraction, but it isn't the only part.

    I say primarily attracted to men so as not to offend. Some people say I'm gay, because at one point I was exclusively attracted to men and sexual orientation can't be changed. Others argue I'm bisexual, since I am sexually attracted to my wife.

  4. Anonymous10:27 PM

    You seem to have an axe to grind here... The Iowa ruling simply states that not allowing SSM means that people who want to be married to partners of the same sex are forced to choose between personal intimacy and marriage. It says nothing about the ability of homosexuals to bond, marry or screw people of the opposite sex - only that constraining homosexuals to only opposite sex marriage is unconstitutional.

  5. I understand your point, and it seems to come from your sensitivity for a hugely overlooked portion of the population: those who are aware of and own their same-sex attraction but who still desire a fulfilling relationship with someone of the opposite sex, for whatever reason.

    However, for most of society, "gay" means someone aware of their homosexuality who desires to pursue a fulfilling relationship with someone of the same sex. Many or most people who don't desire a same-sex relationship don't refer to themselves as "gay". The ruling clearly assumes such terminology, though to do so is ignorant of people such as yourself and limited in its scope. I agree with you there.

    Where I think you're going a bit far is to say they have explicitly asserted that a same-sex attracted person can't be fulfilled in a relationship with someone of the other sex. Your response sounds, to me, like the response of many gay men and women to apparently dismissive statements by, for example, LDS church leadership. I think they also have a point to make, but they also tend to take it a bit far in getting riled up about it.

  6. Let's take someone like Mike Haley, who was out pursuing same-sex relationships. He even got arrested for being a gay prostitute. I think he qualified for your definition of being gay.

    Christians got a hold of him. At first he didn't listen because he thought his genes made him gay. Then he researched it and found there was no proof that genes cause anyone to be gay. He went through all the ex-gay stuff, and now he is happily and faithfully married to woman and has 2 sons.

    The Iowa Supreme Court also said one's sexual orientation "may be altered [if at all] only at the expense of significant damage to the individual’s sense of self." Maybe if Mike were doing his research now, he would have concluded that he could never have a fulfilling relationship with a woman.

    There are many gay men and women out there who are dissatisfied with the lifestyle society seems to be pushing on us, but they believe they are stuck in it because they incapable of ever having a fulfilling relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Statements like those made by the Iowa Supreme Court are damaging to them because it limits their potential. I think it is discriminatory to tell any minority group they are incapable of ever having a happy marriage as defined by 47 states in the US.

  7. Anonymous4:47 PM

    This is a different "anonymous". I am a huge fan of NPR's tell me more and was impressed with your thoughtful blog posts. I am also active, orthodox, LDS. Thanks for speaking up; keep up the good work.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Josh, I asserted nothing about people's inability to change what they want or believe is right. I personally know of many people who have gone through such experiences. And I believe they are often genuine. Just as he went from only wanting a same-sex relationship to one of the others you and I have both stated are an oft-overlooked group, others also go from being happily married to only wanting to be with someone of the same sex.

    I disagree that the ruling's wording necessarily constitutes a declaration that nobody attracted to members of the same sex can or should pursue a marriage with someone of the opposite sex if that's what they want or feel is right. I agree the ruling's wording reflects probable ignorance of this group and perpetuates a limited perspective or usage of the word "gay" because most people will probably not think to consider that overlooked group. Though it's not the court's job to educate people about such things, they probably should have worded it better than to use the word "gay" in such a casual or colloquial way, especially if the ruling has any weight in precedent.

    In short, I agree with you that they should have worded it as extending the right to all people to marry whom they choose and whom they feel most fulfilled with, without attempting to "educate" the public about what kind of relationship is truly "fulfilling" for a particular demographic. That seems pretty presumptuous.

  10. Anonymous10:27 AM

    How old are you?

  11. society is in no way pushing a gay "lifestyle" on gay people. it is the opposite extreme - everything we are told growing up is to aim for the white picket fence heterosexual ideal. so I don't know where you're getting that whole "gay lifestyle crammed down our throats" thing. and I would caution you not to mislead people into thinking it's easy to be happy in a straight marriage if you're gay. those ex-gay programs have caused major psychological damage to so many people because they are based on the idea that being gay is WRONG, and for most people, changing that fundamental part of who they are is not possible. certainly if you are happy, that's great, but the things you are saying pose some danger in that they can legitimate what anti-gay groups try to force upon gay people - that they can, and SHOULD change who they are. The Iowa court ruling recognizes what is reality for most gay people and I for one am quite heartened by that. Certainly if it excludes your reality that is unfortunate - but I would not call it discriminatory, because you are still allowed to do what you wish. if you are happily married, then what are you claiming to be a victim for? If anyone is a victim, its the gay kids who see these fights about gay marriage and think "people hate me enough to say I don't deserve equality." The Iowa Supreme Court's statement gives someone like them hope. honestly I think you need to get over yourself.

  12. Caitrin,

    I've had so many people tell me I'm not being honest with myself, that I should leave my wife and accept who I am. I really don't think that you really understand what I have to go through until you go through it yourself. The world is claiming gays can't change and will never have a fulfilling marriage. Many men leave their wives because they are too disheartened to even try to make it work. True, Iowa might just be another voice in the myriad of people shooting, but don't I deserve the right to be upset when it calls into question the validaty of my marriage?

    I agree there are problems with the ex-gay programs. What does that have to do with me? Can't I be validated in my relationship with my wife even though there is problems with ex-gay programs. I don't see what the two have to do with each other.