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Sunday January 29th

Traditional Marriage Beneficial, But Same-Sex Unions Dangerous

Despite the fact that I am a friend of many people who are homosexual, she quickly labeled me "homophobic" and "a person of intolerance."

Frankly, I was disappointed. The term "homophobic" has been coined and used disparagingly to deprecate those who maintain an opposition to homosexuality. From an intellectual standpoint, I despise the term homophobic as a means to describe those opposed to homosexuality.

There is reason to believe that the behaviors associated with homosexuality are learned and dangerous behavior practices - that is, in general, more dangerous than heterosexual behavior practices. Recently, at the University of Michigan, Professor David Halperin proposed a course titled "How to Be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation." The course description says the course "will examine the general topic of the role that initiation plays in the formation of gay identity (and)... the course itself will constitute an experiment in the very process of initiation that it hopes to understand."

Halperin, a renowned expert on such matters, theorizes that a person needs to take a course in order to learn "how to be gay," therefore making homosexuality a matter of choice, not genetics. Rather than trying to experiment in "recruiting" and "initiating" college students into the homosexual lifestyle, he should tell the students the facts: Homosexual behavior makes a person 8.6 times more likely to catch a sexually transmitted disease, with a 1-in-10 chance of acquiring the potentially fatal HIV. (See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta's study at www.cdc.gov/epo/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4835a1.htm.)

Homosexuality, being a learned behavior, poses dangers to society, especially in the context of legally recognized "civil unions." If society at large were to legally recognize homosexual couples, a level of legitimacy would be placed upon them that would portray the risky lifestyle as a safe and genuine alternative.

Supporters of "domestic partnerships" want homosexual couples to gain legal recognition comparable to that of married heterosexual couples. This recognition would provide legitimacy, economic subsidies, as well as other legal privileges.

But why should homosexual couples be granted the same benefits as married heterosexual couples?

Homosexuals most often respond that they deserve "equal treatment." Indeed, they do deserve equal protection under the laws of this land just as the 14th Amendment stipulates.

Married heterosexual couples do benefit from the legal status of marriage. The question is why should homosexual partners also enjoy the same benefits? In other words, what is it that warrants married heterosexual couples having benefits?

For us to justify giving privileges or exemptions to a particular group in society, the benefit of doing so for society at large must be shown in full. Heterosexual marriage is a matter of significant social interest; the family is necessary to ensure society's reproduction. Heterosexual married couples receive benefits because the status of the next generation is of concern to us all. These benefits are not derived from any biblical law or directive, nor are they the result of the influence of special interest groups. These benefits are prescribed only when conditions relating to the interests of society are met.

Supporters of homosexual unions respond to this argument with the questions: What about adoption? What about artificial insemination for lesbians? They make an effort to illustrate that the concept of the nuclear family is even present among homosexual couples. But this argument just does not hold up. Adoption by homosexual couples is exceedingly rare, only pursued by a small minority.

Ironically, most of those in support of legalized homosexual unions accept that benefits can only be granted for reasons of social interest. But, in doing so, they exclude most of the members of the homosexual community who do not have children while reaffirming the legitimacy of the benefits granted to heterosexual married couples.

Neil Stauffer is a junior peace, war and defense and history major from Charlotte. You can e-mail him with any questions and comments at nstauffe@email.unc.edu.

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