Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Against Heterosexuality? Really?

Michael W. Hannon's article "Against Heterosexuality" seems to be making the rounds in gay Mormon social media. (Interesting enough, since the author is a prospective Catholic priest who builds a major part of his argument on the writings of French gay atheist and social critic Michel Foucault. That's probably the main reason this article is making the rounds.)

My take on this is that you can't, in one breath, say: "Marriage is ordained of God," or "we are all spirit sons and daughters of God," and in the next breath talk about "the lie of essentialism." Religious conservatives who want to use "social construction" theory as an argument against same-sex marriage are sowing the wind. If anything it's proof that a new social consensus about homosexuality and same-sex marriage is emerging, and they know it, because social construction theory is best used as a wrecking ball to tear down a social consensus you don't like. That's why sex radicals in the 1960s latched on to social construction theory in the first place.

If you wanted to consistently use social construction theory as a lens for understanding current debates about sexuality and marriage, you would be just as obliged to acknowledge this:

Individuals who -- by a personal discernment process best described as sacred -- have recognized themselves to be gay or lesbian, are brokering a covenant with the broader society in which they agree to apply broadly accepted ethical principles to their relationships, and the broader society -- by democratic, constitutional means including electoral, legislative, and judicial processes, also best described as sacred -- are in the process of ratifying the proposed social covenant, because they recognize that it is in the interests of the greater good.

No comments: