Homosexualists vs. Conservatives: Answering The Specious Secular Arguments Used to Normalize Homosexuality

Written By: Laurie Higgins
(Posted September 2010)

I worked for eight years in the writing center of a public high school on the North Shore of Chicago and was a member of the English Department. I learned from this experience what ideas and resources students were exposed to and what ideas and resources they were never exposed to. I learned that there was absolute censorship of conservative resources on the topic of homosexuality.

I learned that the commitments of many public educators to diversity and tolerance were empty verbiage. They do not honor or cultivate intellectual diversity, and they are intolerant of those who express conservative views on the nature of homosexuality and the morality of homosexual practice.

They engage in censorship, finding myriad rationalizations for including resources that espouse “progressive” views of homosexuality. For academic ideologues, that's the beauty of teaching English: they can always find ways to rationalize the teaching of controversial texts that undermine traditional values. They simply assert that these texts cultivate higher order thinking skills, or critical thinking skills, or research skills or the teaching of literary terms or that they connect thematically to other texts being taught.

Astonishingly, they can’t seem to find any pedagogical reason for having students study even a single essay from a conservative scholar.

Their pedagogical rationalizations are subterfuges to conceal the true goal in teaching controversial texts which is societal transformation.

As I began to read and think more deeply on the cultural debate surrounding the issue of homosexuality, I learned that the ideas that public educators promote are assumptions for which they have no evidence or justification. They impose their unproven, non-factual beliefs through curricula and their own classroom comments; and they impose them on other people’s children using public resources.

Conservatives need to understand the fallacious, unproven nature of their assumptions and challenge them on them, rather than always being on the defensive. For example, we never ask “progressives” to provide reasons for their claim that homosexuality is by nature like race, which is the assumption upon which virtually their entire house of cards is built.

There is no greater threat to First Amendment speech and religious liberties, to the ethical legitimacy of public education, or to parental rights than that posed by the homosexuality- affirming movement.  Our continued fearful silence makes us complicit in these terrible losses.

I had a colleague tell me that he was trying to find a way to address the problem of homosexual-advocacy that was not divisive. I told him that that was not possible. No matter how completely you express your views and no matter how graciously you express them, if you say that you believe homosexual practice is immoral, you will be hated. We need to understand that unity and peace must never trump truth.

In this paper, I will discuss a number of the specious cultural arguments used to normalize homosexuality and silence dissent, pointing out their intellectual flaws in the hope that such a discussion will help prevent people from being either confused or deceived by these arguments and so that people will feel better equipped to engage in this critical public debate.

 

What is homosexuality?

I would argue that there are very broadly two categories of conditions:

First, there are conditions that have no behavioral implications that can be assessed morally. In other words, these conditions are morally neutral, like skin color or biological sex. Having brown skin has no behavioral and, therefore, no moral, implications.

And then there is the second category of conditions, which includes conditions that are centrally defined by desire or feelings and volitional behaviors. This would include polyamory (which is the romantic and sexual attraction to and involvement with multiple people at the same time), promiscuity, consensual incest, aggression, and homosexuality. The initial impulses or desires may be shaped by biological factors, but the behaviors associated with these conditions are volitional and legitimate objects of moral assessment.

Progressives are plucking homosexuality out of category 2 and treating it like conditions from category 1 without any justification for doing so and apparently hoping no one will notice or challenge them.

But homosexuality is not analogous to race. Race or skin color is 100% heritable; completely immutable; and has no behavioral manifestations that are legitimate to assess morally.

Even if biological factors influenced attraction would not mean that homosexual acts are moral. Biology tells us precisely nothing about morality.

I do not believe that people choose to experience same-sex attraction. I believe they choose how to respond to those unchosen and in many cases unwanted attractions. Those who experience same-sex attraction are no different from any other person who experiences unwanted, powerful, persistent impulses, desires, and attractions. Our task as moral beings is to determine which of our myriad desires are morally legitimate to act upon.

 

From this attempt to equate homosexuality to race emerges the claim that disapproval of homosexuality is equivalent to racism, or to hatred of persons.

The first mistake in this argument is that homosexuality is not analogous to race, and therefore disapproval of homosexuality is not analogous or equivalent to racism. Instead, disapproval of homosexuality is equivalent to disapproval of other conditions that are centrally defined by volitional acts, like polyamory.

Second, homosexualists (which are homosexuals and those who support their beliefs and goals) emphatically assert that disapproval of homosexual acts constitutes hatred of persons. However, they don’t apply that principle consistently. They don’t argue that disapproval of other volitional behaviors constitutes hatred of persons.

People make moral claims about behavior all the time and are rarely accused of hating people. People say polyamory is immoral, polygamy is immoral, promiscuity is immoral, and gossiping is immoral, and yet no one is ever accused of hating polyamorists, polygamists, promiscuous people, or gossips. And when have you ever heard people who disapprove of polyamory referred to as polyphobes?

In reality, the only thing racism has in common with disapproval of homosexuality is that homosexualists hate both.

Sometimes this argument is tweaked a bit, and homosexualists will say that the expression of the view that homosexual acts are immoral is hurtful.

What they’re suggesting is that the moral legitimacy of speech is determined by the subjective response of hearer. It suggests that if someone is made uncomfortable by hearing a moral claim, it is unethical to make it. This idea, applied consistently, would preclude the expression of any moral claims because someone within earshot is likely to engage in the behavior that we are critiquing. We couldn’t say promiscuity or gossip is immoral because someone listening might be promiscuous or a gossip, and would feel bad. Imagine a culture in which no one could ever make a moral claim publicly.

The moral legitimacy of speech is determined by its content (e.g. is it believed to be true or is it a deliberate lie) and the manner in which it is delivered (e.g. are the words and tone civil). For example, saying “God hates fags,” like Rev. Fred Phelps does is unethical speech, whereas saying that homosexual acts are immoral is perfectly legitimate speech. The fact that homosexuals will hate both statements does not mean both statements are unethical.

We should always remain aware that there is a strategic goal behind accusing people of being haters: the goal is to shame or humiliate them into silence. Homosexualists seek to use fear to compel conservatives into self-censorship. And they’re succeeding.

 

One of the central stratagems of the homosexuality affirming movement is to manipulate rhetoric, and one set of related terms that are manipulated in the service of normalizing homosexuality includes the terms prejudice, bias, bigotry, and discrimination:

  • “Prejudice” refers to “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” As such, opinions formed, even negative opinions, after careful consideration do not represent prejudice.
  • “Bias” according to the American Heritage Dictionary means “A preference or inclination, esp. one that inhibits impartial judgment; prejudice.” In its usage note it further explains that “Bias has generally been defined as ‘uninformed or unintentional inclination,’” which is the meaning of prejudice. This definition reveals that informed, intentional, thoughtfully constructed opinions do not constitute bias.
  • A “bigot” according to the Merriam Webster definition refers to a person who is “obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.”
  • Clearly, there is a distinction between bigotry and moral views. Bigotry cannot simply refer to holding opinions or being in possession of moral precepts, for if it did, everyone but sociopaths would have to be considered bigots because everyone but sociopaths holds certain behaviors as moral and others as immoral.

In addition, the word “obstinately” in the definition of “bigot” warrants some discussion. First, “obstinate,” according to The American Heritage Dictionary, connotes “unreasonable rigidity.” I would argue that conservative views on homosexuality are completely reasonable, and that conversely, liberal views are woefully unreasonable. In order to determine whether a tenaciously held conviction reflects obstinacy requires an evaluation of the content of the belief and the justifications for that belief. For example, very few would characterize the act of consistently and enduringly, holding the belief that infantilism, pedophilia, or polyamory is wrong to be a manifestation of obstinacy or bigotry.

  • With regard to discrimination, an important distinction must be made between appropriate or ethical discrimination and unethical discrimination. Discrimination can refer to making judgments or discriminating between right and wrong in which case it is a good, healthy, and essential personal and civic process.

Illegitimate discrimination, on the other hand, refers to unfavorable treatment of others based on ignorance. Conflating or deliberately obscuring the different meanings of discrimination, or asserting that all negative judgments reflect discrimination, plays on our country’s racial guilt and people’s understandable resistance to being associated with such ugliness.

 

The culture has communicated the false idea that expressing conservative views on issues related to homosexuality either in school curricula or the polling place is not only bigoted but also violates the separation of church and state:

Far too many Americans have a serious misunderstanding about the relationship between morality and religion. People of faith have been deceived into believing that morality is the same thing as religion, and therefore they mistakenly believe that they should not advocate for policies that reflect their moral beliefs. Basing our decisions about public policies, laws, or elections on values and beliefs (even those that may derive from religious doctrine) does not constitute the establishment of a state religion.

The same people who argue vociferously against the presence of religiously informed political decisions that are conservative in nature are curiously silent with regard to those liberal Catholics, Jews, United Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Unitarians, and Episcopalians who are politically active in the movement to effect speech codes and revolutionize marital laws.

No one ever charges Catholics who oppose the death penalty because of their religious beliefs of violating the separation of church and state.

No one ever charged Martin Luther King Jr. with violating the separation of church and state when he said,

“How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.  To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. . . .”

People who attend churches or synagogues that affirm liberal views of homosexuality and same-sex marriage and who express those views in school or in the polling place are never accused of violating the separation of church and state or of trying to impose their religious views.

One could argue that those who attend houses of worship that support legalized same-sex unions are similarly attempting to enshrine in law their religious beliefs. Consistency would demand that the political efforts of homosexualists who attend liberal churches be considered as suspect as the efforts of those whose religious beliefs lead to opposition to same-sex marriage.

People from diverse faith traditions and no faith could all arrive at the same position on a particular public policy. For example, although Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists, and atheists may all oppose abortion because they value human life, the reasons for that valuation of life differ.

If there is a secular purpose for the law (e.g. to protect nascent human life), then voting for it does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The sources of the various parties’ desires to protect pre-born life are not the concern of government. It would be not only absurd but also unethical for the government to try to ascertain the motives and beliefs behind anyone’s opposition to abortion and equally unethical for the government to assert that only those who have no religious faith may vote on abortion laws. Such an assertion would most assuredly violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The same goes for issues related to homosexuality.

All laws reflect or embody someone’s morality. The moral views of people who hold conservative theistic world views are no less valid in the public square than the moral views of those who hold liberal theistic world views or atheistic world views—which, of course, are also faith-based.

 

The debate over same-sex marriage increasingly occupies center stage, with homosexualists arguing that retaining the traditional definition of marriage is both immoral and unconstitutional.

What is marriage?

What is the purpose of marriage? What are the factors or conditions that determine its legitimacy? Is it a public and legal recognition of companionship, emotional affinity, and sexual attraction only? Or, is it somehow tied to an objective reality integrally connected to sexual complementarity?

Historically, both in this country and around the world, marriage has been understood to be the union of one man and one woman. Societies recognize, celebrate, and legally sanction this particular relationship because it is the type of relationship in which children will potentially be born and raised. Because procreation and effective parenting are essential for the sustenance and continuance of healthy societies, legal recognition of this type of union is a compelling state interest.

Homosexualists tell us that marriage is solely a private institution

If or when private actions or relationships have no impact on the public good, the government must remain uninvolved. If, however, private actions or relationships impact the public and are adjudged harmful, society is not only entitled but obligated to legislate. The reason that our government provides for the legal recognition of any union is that society understands that through such unions, the private impacts the public.

Society has determined that private unions impact society to a sufficient degree to warrant government involvement. Historically, society has determined that since marriage is fundamental to the health of society, it is the right and responsibility of society collectively to define marriage. The fact that society has made mistakes and included a criterion that was not fundamental to marriage (i.e. with anti-miscegenation laws, meaning laws banning interracial marriage) does not mean that society has been wrong on all criteria. Tradition, sociology, biology, psychology, philosophy, natural law, and, religion, many religions, in fact, have held that both men and women are crucial to the fulfillment of children’s needs, and the fulfillment of children’s needs is crucial to the health of society.

If marriage were solely a private institution that was concerned only with the subjective feelings of individuals—as homosexualists claim it is—and if it had no impact on the public good, then there would be no justifiable reason for the government to be involved at all. And if society decides it is an exclusively private institution that is concerned only with the subjective feelings of individuals, there is no justification for prohibiting plural marriages.

Homosexualists also claim that marriage is a civil right.

Homosexualists assert that marriage is a civil right to which homosexuals are entitled, ignoring, however, the fact that as it now stands all homosexual adults enjoy the right and privilege to marry. They simply do not have the right to redefine marriage.

Marriage is an institution, and access to marriage is not a civil right. Our civil rights are very specific rights that are accorded to individuals because of their status as humans. Civil rights are not accorded to couples, but rather to individual persons. These rights are based on universal, objective human characteristics, not on subjective individual feelings, desires, “orientations,” “preferences,” or volitional conduct. Rights are inalienable, which means that the government cannot legitimately grant them or take them away. The government merely protects them.

Our civil rights include the following:

  • freedom of religion
  • freedom of speech
  • freedom of press
  • freedom of assembly
  • the right to life
  • freedom from involuntary servitude

In contrast, the government can legitimately define an institution and limit its membership in accordance with that definition. Marriage is a very particular institution, and access to marriage is a privilege; it is not a civil right.

When homosexuals claim that they prefer only members of their own sex as romantic and sexual partners, they are acknowledging that men and women are fundamentally and significantly different. Many, including experts in the fields of sociology, psychiatry, psychology, theology, and neuroscience, assert that these differences are not exclusively anatomical, but emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual in nature.

Since men and women are fundamentally and significantly different, unions composed of the same sex must necessarily be of a different nature from unions composed of different sexes, and, therefore, it’s reasonable to conclude that each type of union would impact society differently.

Further, society has concluded that the only type of union that truly benefits the public is a union between two unmarried adults of opposite sex who are not closely related by blood. In evaluating the inherent merits of or contributions to the public good that homosexual unions bring, society has concluded that legal recognition is not warranted.

Every adult has the legal right to marry. Homosexuals are not demanding a civil right that is denied them based on a universal, objective human characteristic; they are being denied the right to redefine the institution of marriage by eliminating one of the criteria that society has deemed essential: sexual complementarity.

Homosexuals as individuals are not being denied the right to marry. They are being denied the right to choose the sex of their marriage partner. Others are denied the right to choose the numbers of their partners. Still others are denied the right to choose the age of their partner. And yet others are denied the right to choose the blood proximity of their partner.

Polyamorous people who love more than one person cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion of numbers of partners. Incestuous couples cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion regarding close blood kinship. And pedophiles cannot eliminate the criterion of minimum age. None of these groups of people are being denied their civil rights even though they cannot marry whom they’d like to marry. They are being prevented from unilaterally redefining marriage which is a public institution that affects the public good.

Most of them—with the exception of pedophiles—may pursue emotional intimacy, engage in sexual relations, and set up households together, but society is under no moral obligation to provide legal sanctions or benefits for these relationships simply because those involved experience love and sexual attraction.

Another intellectual sticky wicket for many is the accusation that banning homosexual marriage is the same as banning interracial marriage.

As with most of the secular arguments used to defend and justify the view that homosexual conduct is morally tenable, there are underlying presuppositions implicit in this analogy that are concealed—and flawed. The most salient of these unproven presuppositions is that race is ontologically or existentially equivalent to homosexuality.

That is to say that comparing same sex marriage to interracial marriage requires prior assent to the proposition that homosexuality is a state or condition similar in fundamental ways to race. But that is a false proposition, one with which many African Americans disagree; one with which many theologians  disagree; one with which even some “queer theorists” disagree; and one which science has not proved.

Laws banning interracial marriages were based on a deeply flawed understanding of both race and human nature. It was based on a false belief that different races were of fundamentally different natures. As Dennis Prager explains:

There are enormous differences between men and women, but there are no differences between people of different races. Men and women are inherently different, but blacks and whites (and yellows and browns) are inherently the same. Therefore, any imposed separation by race can never be moral or even rational; on the other hand, separation by sex can be both morally desirable and rational. Separate bathrooms for men and women is (sic) moral and rational; separate bathrooms for blacks and whites is (sic) not. . . . a black man's nature is not different from that of a white man, an Asian man, an Hispanic man. The same is not true of sex differences. Males and females are inherently different from one another.

Laws that permit only heterosexual marriages are in no way equivalent to laws that banned interracial marriage because homosexuality is in no way equivalent to race. Laws banning interracial marriages were based on the erroneous belief that whites and blacks are by nature different, when, in fact, whites and blacks are not by nature different. Laws that permit only heterosexual marriages are based on the true belief that men and women are by nature different. Therefore, it is permissible and right for laws that regulate marriage take into account the very real differences between men and women.

Moreover, Thomas Sowell explains that “The argument that current marriage laws ‘discriminate’ against homosexuals confuses discrimination against people with making distinctions among different kinds of behavior. All laws distinguish among different kinds of behavior.”

A black man who wants to marry a white woman is seeking to do the same action that a white man who wants to marry a white woman seeks to do. A law that prohibits an interracial marriage is wrong because it is based on who the person is, not on what he seeks to do.

But, if a man wants to marry a man, he is seeking to do an entirely different action from that which a man who wants to marry a woman seeks to do. A law that prohibits homosexual marriage is legitimate because it is based not on who the person is but rather on what he seeks to do.

Neither homosexual men nor heterosexual men can marry men. Both homosexual men and heterosexual men can marry women. Homosexual men are not denied the right to participate in the unique institution of marriage. They are choosing not to exercise their right.

Marriage currently has four central defining criteria: blood kinship, numbers of partners, minimum marrying age; sexual complementarity. History has seen marriages between family members, marriages of children to adults, and polygamy. In virtually no society, have we seen homosexual marriages (in those very few societies which permitted marriage-like relationships to be ceremonialized, the relationships were primarily temporary unions between adult men and adolescent boys who were expected ultimately to marry woman after this rite of passage.) Polygamy, marriage between adult men and young girls, and incestuous marriages have been fairly common throughout history, while homosexual "marriage" has been extraordinarily rare. Homosexualists are seeking to jettison the one criterion that has been the most enduring throughout time and across cultures. In other words, their efforts are the most radical.

Some argue that traditional marriage constitutes an inappropriate imposition of one segment of the population’s morality on the entirety of society.

In making that argument, however, they fail to acknowledge that legalized same-sex marriage would equally represent the imposition of someone’s moral beliefs on all of society. Same-sex marriage would impose on all of society the beliefs that gender is irrelevant to marriage, that marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with childbearing and child-rearing, and that homosexuality is morally equivalent to heterosexuality.

Legalized same sex marriage doesn’t hurt society or anyone’s marriage:

One could make the argument that a polygamous marriage would not harm my particular marriage or even that an incestuous marriage would not harm mine. But ultimately the disuniting of marriage from procreation, and marriage from gender renders it meaningless as a public institution.

So, how society will be affected:

  • The belief that same-sex unions are equal to heterosexual unions in their potential to affect children and society positively will proliferate. 
  • The religious and/or speech rights of those who hold traditional or conservative beliefs on homosexuality will be diminished.
  • The belief that fulfillment of emotional and sexual desires constitutes the fundamental basis for marriage will spread.
  • The belief that same-sex unions are equal in moral value to heterosexual unions will proliferate.
  • Schools will be compelled to include homosexual identities and families as normative in curricula.
  • The view that sexual fidelity is an integral aspect of marital commitment will diminish. Whereas sexual fidelity is an indispensable, integral component of the traditional view of marital commitment, for many homosexual men, sexual fidelity is neither expected nor desired. They hold that extra-marital sexual outlets neither diminish nor attenuate commitment.
  • The belief that marriage is irrelevant will increase as it has in Scandinavia. Stanley Kurtz, research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution has written a number of articles that analyze the impact of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Scandinavia. According to Kurtz “a majority of children born in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. Sixty percent of first-born children in Denmark have unmarried parents.”
  • Widespread societal approval of homosexuality through legalized same-sex marriage will increase ethically dubious ways of creating families. Surrogacy, pregnancies resulting from sperm and egg donations or sales, and in vitro fertilization would increase as the numbers of same-sex unions increase.
  • Demands for legalized polygamy will increase. If society accepts the proposition that marriage is a private institution centrally concerned with emotional feelings and sexual attraction rather than sexual complementarity and procreation, then polygamy is just around the corner.

 

Another term that is abused in the service of normalizing homosexuality is “judgmentalism.” Conservatives are often asked, “Who are you to judge?”

Charges of judgmentalism are confusing because, although we know that God expects us to make judgments, there is something unseemly about being judgmental.

Since being judgmental can mean forming opinions or making decisions authoritatively or wisely, and in this sense is certainly legitimate, what precisely do critics who level this charge mean?

They mean one or both of the following:

  • “Don’t tell me something I’m doing is wrong.”
  • “People should judge only their own behavior, not anyone else’s.” (This is, of course, a moral judgment.)

It’s both legitimate and right to make moral judgments about conduct. Everyone does it all the time, including those who make the judgment that homosexual acts are moral. We forfeit the right to be parents, teachers, rabbis, preachers, or lawmakers, and we forfeit a just and civil society if we forfeit the right to judge between right and wrong.

One rarely hears that society should refrain from judging racism or greed or selfishness or pedophilia or adultery or polygamy or incest between consenting adults. What’s the difference? The difference is that now many have judged that homosexual conduct is moral conduct and demand that everyone else accept that judgment and express that judgment or none at all.

What opponents really find objectionable is not that people make moral judgments publicly, but rather that the particular moral judgment conservatives make about homosexuality is one with which homosexualists disagree.

Homosexualists misapply the "Golden Rule" in their efforts to promote heretical views of the nature and morality of homosexuality. The Golden Rule, which is found in both the Old and New Testaments, properly understood, does not mean that believers should affirm all persistent human desires. Nor does it mean that people of faith should refrain from making public statements regarding the immorality of homosexuality. The Torah teaches "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah.” This means that religious believers should affirm to others God's Word--the entirety of God's Word--in a godly way. It is absurd to suggest that in order to live out the Golden Rule faithfully either Jews or Christians must affirm every desire that another human experiences, including even sinful desires.

Often homosexualists proclaim "Judge not lest ye be judged" as biblical justification for the position that religious believers ought not to state publicly that homosexual behavior is immoral. But this verse means that we are not to engage in unrighteous judgment. We're not to hypocritically condemn the speck in the eye of others while ignoring the plank in our own. We're to recognize the universality of sin and offer forgiveness as we have been forgiven. This verse does not prohibit people of faith from making distinctions between moral and immoral behaviors.

One related point regarding Jewish, Christian, or Moslem expressions of moral disapproval: Some will argue that religious people should remain silent regarding the immorality of homosexual acts. They say, just love homosexuals into the Kingdom, and allow the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts or consciences. But what other sin would we make that statement about. Would we ever say, “Just remain silent about the sin of adultery, polyamory, pornography, or racism,"? Just love adulterers, polyamorists, porn users and racists into the Kingdom and let the Holy Spirit work on their hearts,”?

While the mainstream news media, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, churches, synagogues, public schools, and increasingly, laws promote false and destructive ideas about homosexuality, we must speak the truth in the public square.

 

One final cultural issue that must be addressed is homosexual adoption:

What are the essential criteria for evaluating the suitability of families seeking to foster or adopt children?

They must have the financial means to support them and be able to provide a clean, nurturing environment.

If it is a couple, they must demonstrate that they have a stable, committed relationship.

But is that all?

If that’s all, then we as a society should cheerfully turn over children to the care of loving, committed, stable incestuous couples who are able to provide a safe, nurturing environment. Incestuous couples could make the case that their desire to adopt reveals their sense of responsibility in that procreation could result in serious birth defects. Shouldn't loving incestuous couples be allowed to have children? Is it fair to allow society's prejudice to prevent them from this basic right?

And we should cheerfully and comfortably relinquish children to the care of loving, stable, committed polyamorous families who are able to provide a safe, nurturing, environment.

Love, commitment, stability, safety, and support are, indeed, essential factors when evaluating the appropriateness of a family seeking to foster or adopt. But so too is the moral nature of the relationship of the adoptive family.

Those who recoil at the idea of incestuous couples or polyamorists fostering or adopting do so out of the same kind of moral evaluation of the nature of incest and polyamory as others do out of a moral evaluation of homosexuality. Those who would prohibit loving, stable incestuous couples or polyamorous partners from fostering or adopting do so for the same kind of reason that those who would prohibit loving homosexual couples from fostering or adopting do: a belief that these kinds of relationships are morally flawed.

Some argue that the belief that homosexual conduct is morally flawed is a prejudice and cannot be imposed on all of society. But then one could reasonably argue that the belief that adult consensual incest and polyamory are immoral is an ignorant, antiquated, provincial prejudice that ought not to be imposed on all of society.

Study after study has revealed that children fare best when raised by both a mother and a father. In addition, children have rights. They have a self-evident right to be raised, when possible, by the biological parents who produced them. If those parents are incapable of raising them, these children deserve to be in homes that closely approximate a natural family.

If we measure harm only in concrete, measurable ways -- dirty house, lack of food, untended infections, emotional detachment -- then we ill-serve the children we purport to care so deeply about. When society and the government that represents it are called on to make decisions regarding the placement of children in families, it is not only appropriate but critical that we take into account the moral nature of the relationships of the potential caretakers.