This is the third part in a four part series.  What were the first two parts?

This post will attempt to answer the following question: Is homosexuality a right?

Why The Confusion?

The purpose and function of Law has never been a settled question. That is why when we look around the world we always find different kinds of governments that use the Law for different purposes. In fact, the confusion begins with confusion over the purpose of government. Some governments exist to serve the People. Other governments allow one group of people to oppress another.

Our government supposedly exists to serve the People. However, we do not all share the same concepts about Law.  For example, if you go to the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, you can read a high-brow discussion, The Nature of Law, that will make your head spin. In a society where government and the laws it enforces exist to serve the People, rulers find it expedient to consider multiple points-of-view. Therefore, our experts approach the subject of Law from a variety of very different perspectives.

The complexity of society itself also creates confusion. The problems of governance must be confronted both at multiple levels and with different types of expertise. In a relatively brief article, The Role and Functions of Law in Business and Society provides an overview of our legal system, observing that:

Although the general functions of law appear to be rather simple, the United States legal system is actually very complex. Laws are broken down into several different types. These include constitutions, statutes, common law, administrative regulations and decisions, treaties, ordinances, and executive orders.

What Is An Individual Right?

In a society where government serves the People, one of major functions of the Law is to protect the rights of the People. Unfortunately, we have trouble defining individual rights. The high-brow “experts” have not helped. Consider again a lengthy article from the Standford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyRights. We have used the term “rights” in so many contexts and in so many ways that the term has almost become meaningless. When a word can mean almost anything, what does it mean?

So how should we define the term “rights”? The blog, Classic Liberal, provides an excellent discussion, observing:

Rights are an inherent part of a human being. Rights are yours at birth, given to you by nature or God, and permit you to act in your own self-interest with total control over your own life and property, so long as you do not infringe upon the same rights of others. Rights are not granted by the State. A legitimate government can only guarantee that the rights of all are equally protected. (from here)

I would add one more observation. In a government of the People, by the People, and for the People, the People are the Government. Therefore, it is the People who protect each other Rights.

Is Homosexuality A Right?

Behavior defines whether or not someone is or is not a homosexual. Does anybody have the right to behave as a homosexual? That is, is the right to behave as a homosexual a right government is obligated to protect?

In a simple world, we would just ask a simple question: Why should anyone else care if two consenting adults want to have sex? Then we would observe that nobody should care and leave it at that. But the world is not that simple. Sexual relationships in particular pose complex questions.

Consider this expression, “recreational sex.” Is sex a recreational activity like baseball, skiing, swimming, bird watching, gardening, reading, and so forth? Just because someone puts “recreational” in front of the word “sex,” should we absolved the participants of individual responsibility and consequences?

Because sex is not merely a recreational activity, men and women have frowned on fornication for thousands of years. Because sexual relations have serious consequences, we celebrate marriage and condemn adultery. Because we expect men and women to control their sexual impulses, we make crimes of inappropriate sex such as rape and pederasty. Therefore, a man can find himself in jail just for dropping his pants in public.

In addition to protecting individual rights, society must promote certain values. To ensure that people fulfill their responsibilities, stable societies find the means to efficiently reward good behavior and to punish bad behavior. Otherwise, some individuals tend to luxuriate in their rights and avoid fulfilling their responsibilities.

As demonstrated in HOMOSEXUALS IN OUR MILITARY: THE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES, same-sex sex produces health problems. At best, the behavior is self-destructive and unhelpful to the participants. At worse, same-sex sex leads to an increase in societal disorder. Therefore same-sex sex is not a right any more than suicide is a right.

A right to suicide? Granted, some people think we do have a right to commit suicide. However, government is notorious for its excesses. Once we admit a right to suicide, it seems there will be enthusiasts who insist we exercise this right — to end our right to life. Similarly, once we admit a right to homosexuality, it seems the enthusiasts will insist that we normalize the behavior — and will be forced to accept that which would otherwise deem immoral.

Therefore, we must remember why the Founders called our rights inalienable, pre-existing any government. God, who alway was and always will be, endowed us with our Rights. Does God approve of self-destructive behavior such as suicide or homosexuality?  If we think the answer “No,” then why would We the People want to be obligated to protect such a thing as suicide or homosexuality as a right?

–Tom Salmon

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