Since this has been a big topic in the news lately, and it's one of my 'chicken' topics for a Can of Worms post, I figured this is as good a time as any to broach this subject.
I first want to say, because I like to qualify things, that the main reason this is a 'chicken' topic for me is because I'm afraid of it all coming out wrong, or despite my best intentions not being clear. That said, I see the potential for clarification in the comments or even an update if necessary.
I second want to say, as I've said before, I'm not good with big fancy words or all kinds of theory, so you won't get that from me. Feel free to respond with it, but I am a fan of plain, everyday English (even if it's boring to those of you with much bigger brains than me).
Finally, I ask that you read through to the end of this post before commenting. Open your mind to what I have to say. Then feel free to disagree, as I know many of you will.
Ok, enough procrastinating.
Personally, I do not think homosexuality is a choice. I think this for 2 main reasons: 1) I do not choose to be heterosexual, I just am and 2) Why, truly, would someone choose a life that is going to be difficult and subject to ridicule and cruelty.
That said, the rest of this post applies regardless of whether you feel it is a choice or not.
I strongly agree that Homosexuals should receive protection under the equal rights act. As much as I wish the whole law wasn't necessary, (that people were just hired on their merits, not based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc) it clearly is. The way people are treated who have different beliefs is appalling to me (and not just those who are homosexual).
I do think that secular or civil marriage should be legal for homosexual couples. I say secular or civil marriage because in my way of thinking that is the only type of marriage the government has any control over. Whether a couple (of any type) is permitted to be married in a church is up to each individual church and that is the beauty of Separation of Church and State. You do not have to be married in a church to receive all of the benefits of marriage provided by the government.
Now, that I've brought church, and by expansion faith/religion into this, I know there are plenty of scriptures that can be quoted to argue this issue. And I also know that the bible was written by, translated by, and interpreted by flawed, sinful humans. I do not claim, by any means, to be any better at translating this ancient text as it was originally written - I just acknowledge that it may not be as originally intended. What I do know is what Jesus taught - love, forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance. He was sent to die for ALL of us people and our sins. He taught that it was not our place to judge. That is for God, and God alone. And it is for this reason that I again say, homosexuals should be given equal rights as anyone else. You can say I'm simplifying here; you can say I admittedly do not 'get' theology; or any other way you may like to put it. But the bottom line is, when I was teaching children what Jesus taught last year, never was the message that there were exceptions to Jesus' lesson of love, forgiveness, and acceptance.
So, if I agree that Jesus taught love, forgiveness, and acceptance; and that it is not our place to judge - how can I then condemn or restrict homosexuals (or anyone) for their lives because it is different from mine?
And what about if you don't believe in God (because this post isn't to argue that point)? Don't we as humans have a basic desire and right to be treated with respect? If this life is all there is, there is nothing beyond death, I would think that would be all the more reason to treat everyone with kindness and equality, to make the most of the life you are given.
Moving right along...homosexuals in the military. If we were more tolerant and forgiving in our everyday society, I challenge that this would be a non-issue. As it is, I also challenge that asking someone to keep their sexuality a secret causes more danger to those they serve with then allowing them to be open and make a choice as to whether or not they share.
All of this said, I do believe there are certainly behaviors that homosexual people choose to engage in that perpetuate stereotypes about them. (Just as the girl who wears dark black lipstick, has dark black hair, and black fingernail polish has behaviors that perpetuate stereotypes about her or as the church going family with 5 children who attend a pro-life rally perpetuates stereotypes about themselves.) In turn, the media preys on these stereotype-encouraging behaviors, rather than displaying the homosexual couple down the street who live a quiet life just like every other couple on the block. But does it mean that every homosexual couple fits that mold? (Does it mean that every girl with black fingernails or every family with many children fits the mold established by the stereotype?) Simply answered, no.
In summary, I feel that if we all stopped looking to convict those outside of ourselves and started looking at our own lives, we'd all find that a little bit of kindness and tolerance can, do, and will go a long way. If we'd stop being so concerned with our differences and started looking to our similarities, rules and laws banning this and requiring that may become unnecessary.
This Can of Worms has been opened. What do you think? (And a gentle reminder to please be respectful, you don't have to agree with me or other commenters, but please only type what you would say directly to someone's face.)