The past couple of Sundays, the commentary and opinion section of the Daily Pilot has had more than one commentary on gay marriage. First, it was Judge Jim Gray’s column that suggested the government shpould be out of the marriage business — which is Libertarian-speak for let Churches decide who can marry which limits the ability of gays and lesbians (plus atheists) to legally marry when Prop 8 is overturned and gay marriage is legalized.
The there was this response by Bill Dunlap of Newport Beach. Dunlap is currently a alternate member of the Republican Central Committee of Orange County and has also served as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee in Newport Beach. Most of Dunlap’s piece takes issue with Gray’s column on the definition of marriage should be only between one man and one woman. Then Dunlap’s column takes a turn towards biology and the roots of homosexuality is more of a choice.
From his column:
“But the debate on the inequality for the LGBT constituents is subjective, as there is no proven scientific evidence of a gene or chromosome predisposed to that lifestyle. It’s interesting how Judge Gray tries to tie the issue of gender choice to race to make his “civil rights” argument by saying that homosexuality “is not a lifestyle choice but instead a hard-wired trait.”
The civil rights comparison falls apart because race is not a trait; it’s a scientifically identifiable fact. However, we have seen a growing number of homosexuals return to heterosexuality, demonstrating again the choice component of the issue. Traits fit into the unscientific category of trends and fads, which cultures go through like a hot knife in butter.”
There is significant evidence that gay conversion therapy doesn’t work. And there appears to be almost no statistics that back up Dunlap’s claim that “a growing number of homosexuals return to heterosexuality.”
A 2009 APA task force found that conversion therapies, despite being touted by religious organizations, have little evidence to back them up. A review of studies from 1960 to 2007 found only 83 on the topic, the vast majority of which did not have the experimental muscle to show whether the therapies achieved their stated goals. (Many of the people studied in the early years were court-mandated to take the therapies, adding a coercive element to those outcomes.)
The best-quality studies were more recent and qualitative, the APA task force found, meaning they focused not on the statistical effectiveness of treatment, but of the subjective experience.
“These studies show that enduring change to an individual’s sexual orientation is uncommon,” the task force wrote in their 2009 report. The participants continued to report same-sex attractions after the conversion therapy, and were not significantly more attracted to the opposite gender.
While Dunlap points out there isn’t evidence of a “gay gene,” can we argue there is no “straight gene” either?
For all the arguments that government shouldn’t be in the marriage business, there is no better entity for dealing with the “end of marriage” buisness — specifically divorce. The Catholic Chuch has a process for annulments, but at the end of the day, a divorce is about legal issues of the division of property, the custody and care of minor children, parental rights and visitation, and ongoing ex-spousal support. If we look to the courts to manage the end of a marriage, shouldn’t government be involved in the creation of marriage as well?
….and a note to our friends at the editorial desk of the OC Register. The Daily Pilot’s editorial page is a model to follow. It features commentary from the left, right and center every week instead of a hardcourt rigth-center viewpoint. The letters to the editor are pretty thoughtful and its exactly what a newspaper editorial page should be — a foundation of diverse ideas.