Thursday, January 14, 2010

Giving up choice in the name of marriage

by Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano
Read more LifeLube musings from Lorenzo here

Now underway - a 2 – 3 week hearing on the constitutionality of Prop 8.

I am hopeful that this step will take us closer to a Supreme Court hearing that might lead to a sweeping demise of marriage inequality in the country. However, we might be paying a high price for such a victory.

In reading what the judge has asked both sides to speak to, I saw the opening for the exploration as to whether gayness is a choice.

I haven’t a clue what scientific, psychological or sociological arguments will be presented. Although, in 2010 I imagine the argument as to whether sexual orientation is a matter of choice or biology will be answered rather easily. With a number of respected and well-regarded associations, institutions, organizations and experts agreeing that sexual orientation is not a disease or a result of a series of unfortunate circumstances, the question might be answered with some ease.

My concerns do not stem from the argument of biology versus lack-of-a-father-figure. I am concerned, however, with basing an argument about sexual orientation on biological predetermination and removing any semblance of choice, preference (god forbid) or desire (yikes!).

I understand the strategic argument for god (the Christian god, of course) and/or biology making us this way. After all, if I were born this way it would be unconscionable to deny me the basic rights that others (born the other way) have. While I get this, I don’t get how being a "biological error" (to quote Dr. Laura) or "blessing" (to quote queer revolutionaries) should be the primary reason(s) why I must be afforded the right to marry, to access health care or to stay alive.

I am not naïve; I know what country I live in, what decade I am in and what generation I was born into. Still, I can’t help but mourn the fact that I deserve these fundamental rights, not because I was born a certain way, but because I was born, period. I would much prefer to witness the realization of rights based on my humanity and not on the possibility that some divine being or mix matching of chromosomes or elongated index fingers “made me this way.”

I’m a little old school when it comes to sex and gender. I am an adamant believer in the fundamental right and necessity for choice. When I hold my partner in my arms, I am reminded not of how my mother’s womb made me gay, but how from the deep, sacred and evolving parts of my humanity I have come to desire, adore and build a life with another brown man. In the end, choice might be the one thing that keeps me queer.

I bow my hat to those working tirelessly to make marriage equality a reality. I only hope that our trade-off does not send us so far back that we cease to be queer and become normal.

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