Poor justification to ban same-sex marriage

(a response to Dr. Van Mol’s letter written on August 21 as excerpted in the post Gay marriage is unfair says Californian)

Poor justification to ban same-sex marriage

Dear Editor,

Our socialisation in Jamaica tends to promote intolerance of homosexuals. My own father told me that he would disown me, or worse, if I were to become inclined to that sort of lifestyle. I must also admit that I do have a certain intolerance towards homosexuals. Still, all that I have described is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. The letter published in your August 21 edition written by Dr Andre Van Mol does not support well the proposition that gay marriage should be forbidden.

In an attempt to be fair, Dr Van Mol formulated a test for determining whether or not gay marriage can be accepted as being on par with its heterosexual equivalent. This was based on criteria such as “heterosexual complementarity” and “procreative priority”. I am sure that Dr Mol realised that this test would be too broad and would exclude heterosexual couples who are sterile. (I am assuming procreative priority means couples with the intent or the potential to have children.) Dr Van Mol addressed this point by stating that heterosexual complementarity and role modelling would still be present. This is not an acceptable explanation. He seems to want to have his cake and eat it.

If he is willing to be “soft” on his application of procreative priority when it comes to heterosexual couples but requires it stringently when it comes to homosexuals, then it seems he is doing the exact opposite of what he set out to do. He is arbitrarily applying this particular criterion. If he decides to apply it strictly, then he will realise that heterosexual couples who know beforehand that they are sterile would be excluded by his test.

His heterosexual complementarity criterion is no better. First, one would have to accept that men and women have certain character traits specific to each gender: men in general being inclined to promiscuity and women in general inclined to dependency. He goes on to say that in homosexual relationships these tendencies would be further enhanced. It is not clear to me how these tendencies, if we assume for a moment that men and women do generally behave this way, will be allayed by heterosexual marriage. And in the cases of heterosexual marriages where these tendencies are amplified, are we to assume that the male is gay and the female a lesbian? Furthermore, I am not sure why Dr Van Mol would think that these male and female characteristics are inherently linked to gender.

Couldn’t it be that men and women are socialised in different ways and they tend to behave in certain ways because of this socialisation? If we accept these tendencies as a product of socialisation, then a man or woman could have either of these tendencies depending on their socialisation.

Prohibiting gay marriage cannot be justified by the reasons given.

Warren Brown


Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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