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Living in harmony with sexual diversity

Published October 6, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

By Kim M. Clark

The fact that I do not understand same-sex attraction best explains my practice of suspending judgment. Sexual orientation is a personal discovery; one to be honored and respected, even when religious rhetoric objects and public acceptance fails.

The American Psychological Association declared that "most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation." According to the APA, homosexuality is a "normal variation in human sexuality."

The empirical evidence does not brook the claim that being gay is a psychopathology. "Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease," reasons Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, director of the Pan American Health Organization, "it does not require a cure." You can't "repair" what isn't broken. Homosexuals and bisexuals alike are a legitimate subset of the same sexual set to which heterosexuals belong.

As law professor and political scientist Andrew Koppelman noted, "There's no evidence to support the claim that same-sex marriage corrodes traditional marriage." And why should it? Moreover, biologists report that "Homosexuality has been documented in more than 450 species of vertebrates signaling that sexual preference is biologically determined in animals." Nearly all Bonobos are "bisexual and … about two thirds of the homosexual activities are amongst females."

True, gays cannot reproduce; but neither can infertile heterosexuals, and we don't deny them the freedom and blissful experience that is sex. In spite of what blushing mothers may have divulged, people have sex if for no other reason than sheer pleasure.

In October 2010 President Boyd Packer of the LDS Church announced that legalizing same-sex marriage is legalizing "immorality." He also affirmed that same-sex attraction was "wrong [and] evil" and a "law against Nature." What Packer fails to recognize, however, is how the sexual behavior of gays and bisexuals actually harmonizes with Nature's law. Packer's understanding is simply wrong.

I cannot imagine the pain gays and bis must feel when ignorance looks to deny them the same rights and privileges that the larger subset enjoys. It's time to stop pretending that this insidious war against sexual diversity is a productive and harmless campaign. It's not.

The time for incendiary opinionating and the advancement of hateful and divisive speech must end. Too many innocent people have suffered at the hands of unqualified and mean-spirited judges. Too many spurious and false claims have been framed in the name of God and moral purity. If anything's immoral, perhaps it's the immorality of judging another's morality.

Words are not benign, and judgments are not infrequently cruel and damaging. Let's not pretend that telling someone that "God hates fags," etc., has no consequences and that it doesn't inflict lasting damage. It does, and too often the damage leaves an indelible scar from which many never recover.

When it came to tendering moral advice, Jesus' instructions were unmistakably clear: We are to "judge not." (Matt. 7:1) In its place, he advanced "a new commandment," namely that we "love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)

We must do for sexual diversity what evidence did for Catholicism's Ptolemaic and geocentric model of the universe. It's time we harmonized our beliefs and behaviors with the laws of Nature.

Kim M. Clark is a doctor of optometry in Portland, Ore.