Note: This discussion is starting with the idea of homosexuality but will also explore more of LGBTQ+ issues as we go along.
What bothers me about the discussions on mainstream media is their superficiality. This is further worsened by political polarisation. What happens in such a scenario is that the right-wing picks one position and the left-wing picks the opposite, and the two keep bashing each other without anything meaningful coming out of it.
Unfortunately, this is also true for an issue as serious as that of gay rights. In this document, I would try to go deeper into the issue and tackle difficult questions. Your opinions, as always, are welcome. That is the only way the arguments can evolve.
Let’s start with basics. What is homosexuality? A homosexual is someone who is sexually attracted solely to people of their own sex.
Is it morally wrong?
A religious person might argue that it is wrong as it goes against his or her religious beliefs. But that does not hold much value if enough reason is not presented. For instance, a religious person might also say that sex between an unmarried couple is also wrong. But, is it really wrong? Who decides? God?
I am not going to attend the God argument right now. I will come back to it later. Let’s try to discuss it outside religion first. Besides, we first understand that just because one religion does not permit something does not mean everyone else has to follow that.
Anyway, let’s come to the important question which remains central to the most of the arguments that follow. The question is: Is homosexuality biologically determined or is it a choice? In other words, is someone born as gay or they become one?
Although the science on this is still not clear (there is a growing consensus that homosexuality is biologically determined), we will consider both cases for the sake of discussion.
Case 1: Homosexuality is biologically determined
In other words, one is born this way. Which means, such a person would not feel sexually attracted to the opposite sex but to the same sex.
In such a scenario, a homosexual person is as wrong as a straight person. That is, they were made this way. As straight people can’t change their sexual orientation, so can’t homosexuals. Given this, even the God argument appears seriously flawed. Because in that case, we also have to assume that God made all of us and he commanded most of us to be straight and some to be homosexual. Whose fault is that?
But, the discussion does not end here. It only begins. The challenge in most of the societies is not with regard to whom one sleeps with or the mere attraction but the concept of marriage. So, the question then becomes: Even if homosexual relationships are acceptable, is it fair to grant marriage rights?
The obvious answer seems yes as it does not hurt anyone (apart from God). But, we need to analyse it a bit more.
There can be following concerns:
1. The purpose of marriage is primarily meant for the stability of children. Since, there are not going to be biological children in a same-sex marriage, why is it even required?
The above point takes us to the original idea of marriage. Traditionally, yes, this was the case. But modern marriages are different. Couples often decide to get married and not have children. They can adopt children and the same is also applicable to a lesbian or gay couple.
One point of argument could be that for the healthy growth of a child, there is a need of a mother and a father. But that too has changed a lot in a modern society. Besides, a lot of single parents also raise children.
2. Would allowing same-sex marriage dilute the whole institution of marriage?
Let’s ask ourselves this basic question: why do two people want to get married? Marriage is a legal or formal recognition of a relationship. It protects the relationship, adds stability and makes a couple feel secure. If two people love each other and want to get married, there should not be any harm in that.
But here is when it becomes a little complicated. And whether we like or not, we have to smuggle God in here. Marriage is a ritual, a sacred one in most cultures. And religion is almost always involved in marriages, adding sanctity to the rituals. Now, some people might feel that the sanctity would get affected if you change the structure. Notice that the same has been said about inter-racial, inter-religious, or inter-caste marriages in the past. Why? Because it damaged the sanctity of marriage. That does not mean these marriages are wrong. In fact, we celebrate these marriages today. Same could be said about a same-sex marriage, which is considered a taboo today, and it might get celebrated tomorrow.
3. In traditional marriages, if a divorce were to take place, women are protected with certain rights such as alimony, child support, child custody etc. How will you determine the same in case of divorce in a same-sex marriage? That may not be difficult. But would that eventually undermine women’s rights in traditional marriages?
This is the most complex of all and will require some thinking.
Note: This is an ongoing discussion and will be updated on a regular basis. If you have any arguments from either side, feel free to write to me.