William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are homosexual relations beneficial to society?

The question was put:

"Are homosexual relations beneficial to society?"

To which I responded:

The short answer is yes, qualified as follows: People who are pre-disposed to homosexuality appear to be miserable if not permitted to express their feelings. This does not mean that every feeling a person has must be expressed, as there are clearly situations where it is objectively harmful (for example, child molestors, rapists, murderers, child pornographers, drug addicts, etc. are not morally justified in acting out on their inclinations). But I believe that in all moral evaluation, we start out with the presumption of freedom and especially freedom of conscience. We only limit freedom when there is a substantial justification for doing so, and in general, my personal belief is that God's commandments are also crafted with such a rationale in mind. A prohibition on individual freedom, whether imposed by a secular law or by religious edict, can be extremely damaging to a person's psychological well-being particularly where the burden placed on the individual substantially outweighs the societal benefits of the prohibition.

Sexuality is an area of human behavior which does require a certain amount of discipline and responsibility in order to be expressed safely. Homosexual adults who have the maturity and discipline can have the ability to engage in homosexual relationships in a way which, I believe, is neither harmful to themselves or society, and which brings them both pleasure and happiness in a loving relationship. People who are happier about their own lives generally are better citizens in society; they are less likely to become depressed and consequently become unproductive. There is also, I think, an intangible aura of pleasantness which tends to flow from people who are content, which makes life better for the rest of us and lessens the likelihood of conflict and bitterness. Homosexual relationships do not benefit society at large in a direct way, but I believe that in many instances, they benefit us in an indirect way by making the world a happier place, especially for those of us, including heterosexuals, who interact with homosexuals.

There are, of course, instances where homosexuality, practiced irresponsibly, can be problematic, as is the case in homosexual circles which promote promiscuity combined with unprotected sex. Sexually transmitted diseases and other health problems, however, are not a sufficient justification for a prohibition of all homosexual relationships and behavior; they merely demonstrate that a person's right to have a homosexual relationship does not give them a blank moral check to do whatever they want and act irresponsibly.

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