Homosexuality: a libertarian perspective

The first known time that homosexual appeared in print was in an 1869 German pamphlet by the Austrian-born novelist Karl-Maria Kertbeny, arguing against a Prussian anti-sodomy law. The word homosexual is one of those Greek and Latin hybrids. The use of this term reflects a significant change; for centuries homosexuality had been considered as something did and was known as sodomy, buggery or a crime against nature. But as of the 19th century homosexual was something you were, an identity. It was not only the church which condemned homosexuality.  Psychology and psychiatry were pioneers in studying a homosexual orientation as a discrete phenomenon. It is not a particularly proud part of their history; they treated it as a mental illness. Not until 1973 did the American Psychiatric Association take homosexuality off its list of mental disorders,

The question of whether gays are born or made is tremendously complex. I think we can discount the theory by that darling of the left, Evo Morales. According to the Bolivian leader it’s because of the hormones we put in chickens. I shall certainly never think of KFC in quite the same way again. To be honest I don’t really know why there are homosexuals. Sexual orientation does seem to be a powerful force. Why would gays have gone through so much suffering? However, the cause is a fascinating scientific question but ultimately irrelevant. What matters is that there are homosexual human beings and that they deserve our respect.

I love that video of Bruno interviewing an American pastor who specialises in turning gays into straights. I am tremendously sceptical about gay reprogramming. Take the United States for example. It has a population of 300 million people. Logically in such a large group of people you will find a bit of everything. Thus it is perfectly credible there are now homosexuals who have crossed over to the other side of the street. I am not even referring to those borderline cases of people whose gender identity is not strongly defined. There must be millions of gay Americans. So if you can convert a just a tiny fraction of those you will have thousands of ex gays. This does not prove that is a serious method. In our lives we make trade-offs; if the most important goal in your life is religious faith, then personal happiness might come from conforming to faith rather than pursuing sexual orientation. But I would like a world in which people didn’t have to live a lie.

The biggest controversy in recent years has undoubtedly been that of gay marriage. The idea that it somehow represents a threat to traditional marriage strikes me as ludicrous. Divorce rates have been going up for many years now because of societal pressures. How does gay marriage cheapen the vows between a man and a woman?  Does gay marriage violate anyone’s rights? No. Does it violate gays’ rights to be prevented from having their relationships given legal effect because of the state monopoly? A society that respects individual liberty cannot allow unequal treatment under the law.

There are more than six billion people living on this planet. Inevitably we are going to find many activities repulsive. That is the nature of humans. But what consenting adults do with each other is nobody else’s business. I see a strong connection between the rise of capitalism and liberal democracy and the personal freedom that it has provided. I passionately believe in economic and social freedom. They have their drawbacks but they have brought greater benefits. I would love to see a world where sexual orientation was just no big deal. Gayness would not need to be affirmed nor defended. Gay identity (and straight identity as well) would finally become redundant.


2 Responses to Homosexuality: a libertarian perspective

  1. Robert says:

    Very good Martin.

    p.s. Were you born heterosexual or did you turn out straight because of your conditioning? I think you know my views on that one. Delighted you don’t even mention the word “option”


  2. […] I would rather engage in specific criticisms than come out with blanket denunciations.  I gave my opinion about gay rights in a previous post; so now I want to look at two other divisive […]

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