"Re-entering the Circle of Life"
Gays, Ex-Gays, and Marriage
Address to the National Marriage Forum, August 4th 2004,
Parliament House, Canberra.
The first part of the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill states the biologically obvious – that only a male and female of the species are able to form what other animals call a “breeding pair”, and what we call “marriage”. It acknowledges such male-female pair-bonding as a biological fact of life, not a social construct which can be cut to shape according to the fashion of the day. It affirms that marriage does indeed belong on a social pedestal, since no social task can compare with the creation and nurturing of the next generation.
The second part of the proposed amendment, on gay adoption, states the emotionally obvious – that a little child needs both a mother and a father. It acknowledges the essential complementarity of the sexes, affirming that every little mammal needs both the warmth and comfort of the mother, and the playful rough and tumble, as well as the protection, of the father. It rejects the idea that the law of the land should deny certain children even the possibility of having both a mother and a father. No matter how competent and caring a lesbian partner may be, she can never be a Dad to a little boy. No little girl should be forced by the State to be without a mother, and instead made to look up and see two “married” men playing Mummies and Daddies.
It is said that these amendments exclude gays from marriage and family, but no one is excluding them. By its very nature, homosexuality has excluded itself; it has stepped outside the circle of life – the timeless, endless natural circle of male and female, parent and offspring. Yet gay men and women can rejoin the circle of life, as Pastor Ron has testified today, and as the growing number of ex-gays confirms.
But how is this possible? Isn’t homosexuality an inborn, unchangeable condition?
It is not. Gays are not simply “born that way”; there is no simplistic “gay gene” or “gay brain”, and the American Psychiatric Association sums it up by stating: “There are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality”. Nor, we might add, is there any all-encompassing psychological explanation, although some theories seem convincing in some cases - for example, male homosexuals who attribute their condition to an inability in childhood to relate to their absent or hostile father, leading them to seek the missing affection and affirmation in other men.
The origins of homosexuality are likely to be a very complex interaction of nature and nurture, genetic vulnerabilities and cultural influences.
But whatever its origins, the outcome of homosexuality is best understood as a very complex state of confusion over sexual identity. It is a cruel confusion in the deepest regions of our lives, something no parent would ever wish for their child.
So the important thing to understand is that something can be done for it. The fog of sexual confusion can and does clear away – gays are not born that way, and they do not have to stay that way. They do not have to stay outside the circle.
In October last year a particularly important research paper was published on this subject in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour by one of America's senior psychiatrists, Dr Robert Spitzer. Significantly, this was the same gay-friendly Dr Spitzer who helped delete homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association's manual of mental disorders back in 1973. Now, in his detailed review of "200 Participants Reporting a Change from Homosexual to Heterosexual orientation" he writes: "Although initially sceptical, in the course of the study, the author became convinced of the possibility of change in some gay men and lesbians… Almost all of the participants reported substantial changes in the core aspects of sexual orientation, not merely overt behaviour". Against critics who say that attempts to change sexual orientation can cause emotional harm to homosexuals, he notes: "For the participants in our study, there was no evidence of harm…Many patients can make a rational choice to work toward developing their heterosexual potential and minimizing their unwanted homosexual attractions."
Dr Spitzer, once a hero of the Gay Rights movement, has now received considerable hate mail from that same movement, because his telling of the clinical truth has political implications.
The political success of Gay activism has been due to portraying gays as a persecuted quasi-racial minority group - like blacks or Jews - and thereby touching a sensitive spot in a guilty Western conscience. So Gay activist Rodney Croome harks back to the Aborigines and accuses the Prime Minister of denying gays "the full humanity of a disadvantaged group". Former AMA President Dr Kerryn Phelps likewise accuses the Prime Minister of "apartheid" against the gay "minority". Yet the racial analogy is false, since blacks cannot stop being black, but gays can stop being gay.
Being gay is more truthfully understood as a deeply ingrained but treatable psychological condition like any other, not an inborn identity. And for the sake only of those homosexuals who want to change, the clinical truth must be made known – that it is possible, given determination, patience, and skilled help, for them to leave behind their unwanted same-sex attraction. Then, like many in Dr Spitzer’s study, they can become biologically marriageable, and reclaim their rightful place in the great circle of life as male and female - married, with children of their own.
Dr David van Gend MBBS, FRACGP, DipPallMed
Family Queensland Doctor