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Is it an advantage to society?
Should gays and lesbians have equal treatment under law?

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Is Homosexuality (and its suppression) an advantage or disadvantage to Society?

One source points out that in past Native American societies, homosexuals were valued members of the tribe and were given specific responsibilities. 1 By not having children of their own, "they brought to their kinship groups an increased capacity for the production of food and other essentials....while at the same time they did not increase the load on the vital supplies of the group..." He argues that since homosexuals tend to have fewer children, they have more energy to contribute to the advancement of society. This is seen historically, in the apparent over-representation of gay and lesbian philosophers, artists, and other creative individuals in western society.

Other ancient civilizations, like that of the ancient Israelites, were motivated to exterminate homosexuals because they tended to have few children. One writer states:

"Religious objections to homosexuality spring from two sources. One is the ancient patriarchal warrior-clan religion on which several modern religions are based. In their clans it was every male's duty to breed, to produce more soldiers, and any who didn't were violating cult taboo: it was taken as a sign of non-male weakness, of "sin" against their warrior Father. 1

The chances of survival of the tribe, when surrounded by enemy societies, is augmented if the birth rate is kept high. The more babies that are produced, the more future warriors will be available to fight the battles. However, in the present time, our high birthrate is causing major stress on the environment. The human race is breeding itself to death. Thus, homosexuality may currently have a beneficial influence on the survivability of the human race.

The same writer continues:

"The other source of these condemnations has been the need of religious and political leaders, who, in trying to force their religion and its observance on the peoples of their communities, have created mythic polemics that attempt to denigrate and destroy the religious beliefs and practices of others. This is the origin of the myth of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of the opprobrious dicta of Saul/Paul." 1

We see this dynamic in some of religious groups which concentrate on anti-gay rhetoric.  While this may build cohesion within their group, it increases the level of hatred and mistrust in society, and lowers our ability to cooperate. These effects are counter productive. 

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Should Gays and Lesbians be Given Equal Protection in Law?

Groups of individuals are given equal protection under various federal, state/province, and city civil rights laws in North America. These include groups identified by race, gender, religion, nationality, degree of disability, language. This list of rights is gradually being extended to include sexual orientation.

Many conservative Christians organizations actively oppose sexual orientation being included in a list of protected groups. Their argument often asserts that homosexuality and heterosexuality are chosen behaviors that can be changed at any time, through reparative therapy. Cal Thomas is typical. He wrote: "...the facts (as opposed to the politics) are that people who want to change can change [their orientation] , because it is behavior at issue--not race, gender or physical disabilities." Thus he believes that gays and lesbians cannot ask for "special protection under civil rights laws designed for people whose status has nothing to do with behavior." 2

Conservative Christian organizations typically use the term "special rights" rather than "equal rights" because they believe that rights based on sexual behavior are quite different from the more traditional rights. The latter are based on unchangeable factors, like race, color, ability status, nationality and gender. Equal rights for gays and lesbians would protect their behavior. Their argument does not really hold water, because religion has always been a protected class in civil rights law. Religion is very definitely a choice, and a changeable factor in a person's life.

Gay and Lesbian groups point to the high incidence of gay-bashing, as well as employment and accommodation discrimination. They feel that equal protection under law for persons of all sexual orientations is badly needed.

It is rarely commented upon that equal protection for all sexual orientations will protect everyone: heterosexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals. We are unaware of any legislation that protects only gays and lesbians.

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Related essays:

bullet What determines a person's sexual orientation?
bullet Beliefs about homosexuality. Studies of sexual orientation
bullet Is it unchangeable, abnormal or immoral?
bullet Attempting to change one's sexual orientation via reparative therapy
bullet What the Bible says about homosexuality.
bullet Lesbian/gay terminology

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  1. Athenadorus, "Homosexuality: Its Genetic Basis & Evolutionary Benefit," at:
  2. Cal Thomas, "Therapy to change homosexual behavior", Honolulu Star-Bulletin (and many other newspapers), 1997-AUG-25

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Site navigation: Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Basic data > here

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Copyright 1996 to 2004 incl. by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2004-MAR-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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