The argument about homosexuality is one of those Scylla-and-Charybdis arguments at least for the anti-gay groups out there. The National Organization for Marriage’s Jennifer Roback Morse, one of their most outspoken opponents for equality, went on a radio interview to perpetuate the idea that homosexuality is a behavior and not an identity- and that ex-gay therapy works. All the while, she continued to push the effort to split gays and Blacks apart.
Apparently, Morse goes on to highlight the testimony of Linda Jernigan. Apparently, Jernigan claims to not only be ex-gay, but that she now believes that homosexuality is “rooted in Satan.” ThinkProgress goes on to note that support for same-sex marriage is very high among racial minorities.
Here are some things that ThinkProgress ignores in their analysis, and why the argument that homosexuality is a behavior that can be changed is a rather stupid one to make. First of all, I am probably going to get into a lot of trouble for putting it this way, but Blacks can stop being Black.
Before I get into silliness about changing the color of one’s skin, there are certain things that embody being Black beyond skin color. This is something that Whoopi Goldberg noted at one point. Her mother was adamant about her speaking “proper English” in order to not get held back. It is something that my great-grandmother, who was Hispanic, knew. She told her children to never again speak Spanish lest they be discriminated against. In Canada and the United States, it was common practice to raise Native American children in a White manner in order to stop them from being ‘savages’.
There were those who acted White and passed as White even though they were Black, according to the standards of the law back before desegregation.
Obviously such changes in behavior could only go so far, but the point is, there is a whole lot of culture attached to being Black, Asian, Hispanic, Latino, White or Native American. Those cultural behaviors can be changed. Should they be? Well…personally I don’t like that idea even if it can be more difficult for someone who is not fitting into the overarching culture.
Additionally, religion is a behavior. While it can be wrapped up in certain ethnic identities, it is a behavior no matter how you want to slice it. People come and go from religions all the time. This may not seem like such a big deal, but the reality is that arguing that a behavior- be it completely devoid of attachment to a biological determinant or not- cannot be the basis for discrimination so long as it has been pretty much shown that this behavior does not impact or deprive someone of their life, liberty or property without due cause.