In a comment to a previous blog post, Laughing Boy provided two reasons why secular society should reject homosexuality. First, that homosexuality is unnatural (as is doesn't allow for procreation); and second, that homosexuality is dangerous to society, because sexually transmitted diseases (SDTs) reduce the life-span of those involved in homosexual partnerships.
This got me thinking, and below is my response to these two arguments:
Homosexuality is unnatural
This argument wrongly assumes that if something is natural, then it is always beneficial or desirable. When it comes to human behavior, nature does not have to be prescriptive. If humans obeyed the 'natural order', we would have never been able to halt cancer with 'unnatural' chemotherapy, correct bad eyesight with 'unnatural' laser treatments, or develop 'unnatural' legal systems that discourage humans from using the type of violence we observe in the animal world. As humans, we owe much of our comfort and health to the 'unnatural'.
And the fact that nature is not prescriptive is also evident in human relationships: procreation, for many couples, is not the primary reason why they marry; they think outside the biological box and decide not to have children. Also, many heterosexual couples marry, despite the fact that they can't have children due to medical reasons. These couples choose not to adhere to the 'natural order'. Does it follow then that they should be banned from marrying in the first place?
And this whole argument is plagued by the question: how do we decide what is natural? One can easily argue that homosexuality is perfectly natural, because, by definition, humans are a part of nature, and thus everything we do must be natural. One can also argue that animals never sign marriage contracts, so marriage in itself is unnatural, and thus should be banned. Without a proper definition of 'natural', one can appeal to nature to argue against (or for) any kind of behavior.
Homosexuality is dangerous
HIV/AIDS and other STDs might be the cause of many deaths within the homosexual community, but does this make homosexuality dangerous? I would argue that it's not homosexuality that is the problem, but the sexual habits of homosexuals in general. Safe, responsible sex is an option that can significantly reduce the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs. If all homosexual and heterosexual couples practiced safer sex, the harm to society would be reduced.