I didn’t think that there were still people who really think being gay is a choice, but the comments by Colin Craig indicate that it appears some do. Also with people trying to compare same sex relationships to polygamy, it seems it is necessary to deal with this issue. So, let’s be clear about what is and is not a choice.
You choose whom you have sex with. Yes Colin Craig could “choose” to have sex with a man. That however doesn’t make him gay. Some years ago I was discussing with a group of friends how much money it would take for me to have sex with a guy. I said that it would have to be enough to permanently change my lifestyle – more than I could probably earn some other way. $1 million wouldn’t be enough as the interest on that would be only $80,000 a year and I’d rather earn that from polling! I settled on a figure of $6 million as at 8% would get me $500,000 a year income. Hence amongst certain friends I am now known as the six million dollar man.
Now if I ever was to have sex with a man for $6 million, this would not make me gay. It would just make me a very expensive whore.
I don’t have any choice over whom I find attractive or desirable. I wish I did – it would make life much much easier. I find women attractive. Never have I found men attractive. Sure I can admire a good physique on either sex, but in terms of actual desire – I am incapable of finding anyone but women desirable.
Now some people may have problems accepting this, but for many gay men, it is exactly the same – except they only find men attractive and desirable, and have no desire to have sex with women. Now personally I can’t comprehend this (I can understand lesbianism very well though – in fact what amazes me is why any woman wants to sleep with a man, if they can score chicks also – but that is more a reflection on me!), but it is just the way some people are. Whether it is genetics, or some unknown combination of environmental factors at a massively early age (or a combination), I don’t know. But for most people, there is absolutely no element of choice about whom they are attracted to.
Yes, there are some people who are bisexual to varying degrees, and can happily have gay relationships for a while, and then have heterosexual relationships thereafter, and be absolutely happy. But just because some people are like this, doesn’t mean all are. I have some gay friends who never ever have been attracted to women, never ever will be attracted to women. If you do not accept this reality, then you are staying deliberately blind.
Just as we get little choice in whom we find desirable, we also get little choice in whom we fall in love with. Again, life would be a lot easier if we did – I have sometimes fallen for the most inappropriate people.
I would hope most readers know what it is like to be in love – especially the head over heels variety. Where you just want to spend every waking hour with that person. Where you phone them six times a day just to chat. Where you share your life with them entirely, and you just feel empty and incomplete without them. God knows, how we have been programmed to feel like this, but we have. The wonder of love, is only matched by the horror of loss.
Now again, I know I can only fall in love with women. I have mates whom I would do anything for, and will be mates until we are dead. But that is different to someone you are actually in love with.
Now I can understand that 25 years ago some people may have thought being gay was just about gay sex, and hookups. Partly because of the then laws in place, gay couples could not be open about their relationships.
But just as heterosexual men and women fall in love with each other, gay and lesbian men and women fall in love with other. This sounds patronising that I even have to say this out loud, but I think some people out there doubt it – they think it is just about sex. Go out and meet some of those couples who have been together 20 or 30 years or longer. Their love is just as strong and just as valid, as any other couple’s.
Now as I said you may not get much of a choice around whom you find attractive. You sometimes may not even have much of a choice around whom you fall in love with. You can be with one person and find other people attractive. You can even be married, and find other people attractive. You may even meet someone and realise you are falling for them.
But for me marriage is about commitment. I absolutely love the vows “until death do us part”. I think there is something wonderful about pledging yourself to another in sickness and health for the rest of your life. And sure some marriages fail, and people do cheat. But many do not. And it is via commitment that we choose not to cheat on our partner, and if we think we may be falling for someone else, we then choose to see less of them.
So in my view we do not get much of a choice about desire/attractiveness or love. But we do get a choice about sex and about commitment. And if same sex couples want to make a life-long commitment to each other to marry, then I think that is a great thing – and something that makes society better – as well as provides much happiness to that couple.
This is why the stuff about polygamy is a red herring. Polygamy is a choice. If people wish to have more than one partner, and they all agree, then that is their choice.
Marriage for me is about a couple who are in love with other wanting to commit to each other for the rest of their lives. I think it is an inspirational thing, even thought it is something I’ve not yet been lucky enough to have. I don’t want any (adult) couple who are in love with each other, who want to marry, to be banned from doing so. People should not be denied marriage on the basis of their sexuality, which they have no control over.