Chris Douglas

The Right Wing War on Younger Brothers

Filed By Chris Douglas | June 30, 2006 5:47 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement

The study on the biology of the womb, and its propensity to produce same sex orientation in males who are younger brothers to other brothers, is finding its way into bastions of traditional conservativism like the Wall Street Journal. Though the study doesn't explain all homosexuality, especially same-sex orientation among women, this is a helpful development.

Some may argue (properly) that no matter the biology, individuals should be free in America to pursue happiness where they find it, so long as it infringes on no rights of others and is not seriously self-destructive. But that argument on the topic of gay rights has never carried the day, and in my opinion, won't soon.

But I believe that there is a grown understanding (in all but the most prejudiced ranks) that there exists in society a significant percentage of citizens who are gay by no choice. As this understanding has dawned, perhaps because increasing numbers of gay citizens now feel the courage to identify themselves, some conservatives capable of thought find themselves struggling with how to incorporate decent and law abiding gay citizens into their world view, how to justify a change of heart, and how to explain that change of heart to conservative peers.

In this regard, the ever-increasing indisputable evidence that sexual orientation is biologic (though not necessarily genetic) enables all but the most adamant to assemble a thoughtful argument for the protection of the rights of people who are gay. I have already noticed younger people in one breath describing themselves as conservative and in the next breath endorsing nondiscrimination and partnership rights for gays.

The increasing evidence on biology is enhanced in its importance by the fact that gays appear in equal numbers in families of all economic backgrounds, of all races, of all religious heritages, of all ethnic pasts. Suddenly, those who previously warred on gays alone must now contend with fellow conservatives who are startled to find gays coming out of closet even in or among their own families, churches, friends, classmates, and colleagues.

Now we can add to this familiarity what should be an instinctive discomfort. Older children in all societies are not immune to a sense of responsibility for the well being of their younger siblings. To war on the younger brothers, to arrest purposefully their progress toward happiness, to assault rather than protect them, these are all ugly statements about the worth of society's perpetrators, not of its victims. Because of this evidence on the effect of the womb on the sexual orientation of younger brothers, I believe one more nervous synapse in the reluctant minds of many conservatives will be forced to fire sympathetically toward equal protection for gay citizens, not only in our workplaces, but in our private lives with our partners.

As a result of just one more mental synapse fired in sympathy, perhaps one more conservative head will fall still when previously it might have nodded to ignorant words. Perhaps one more conservative will speak up where previously he or she was silent in the face of bigoted actions. Perhaps one more editorial board will find its way to argue forcefully against the intolerance of state marriage amendments which void the equal protection of the laws for all gay citizens, rather than accord the topic no more importance than potholes. Perhaps one more conservative Federal Court justice, confronted with his or her duty to the Constitution, will honor its call to equal protection, rather than shrink from it.

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