Some people claim that being gay is wrong because it’s abnormal behavior that goes against the basic goal of our species, reproduction. If a variety of other species also display homosexual behavior how could it truly be considered abnormal?
There are a plethora of issues at stake when the topic of homosexuality is brought up in American society. Not only does the nation differ in opinion about same-sex marriage and child rearing among the homosexual community (to name only a few of the concerns at stake), but we also conflict over the very morality of its practice. There are many strong arguments attributed to the gay rights movement in favor of supporters’ beliefs that homosexuality is not a choice and doesn’t bring harm to others. In a 1991 study by Simon LeVay, a scientist in California, research was done on the brains of 41 patients who died from AIDS. The results suggested that the size of four nuclei, found to be larger in the hypothalamus of homosexual individuals, may be a key factor in determining sexuality (Diaz, 211). Opponents of homosexuality have raised some strong arguments on their side of the hypothetical trenches as well, but there are two main arguments against the basic morality of the homosexual lifestyle. These two view points are that homosexuality is morally inexcusable based on religious values and that being gay is unethical due to fact that it is “unnatural”. Janice Irvine observes the issue at the heart of this second point, “since heterosexuality is normative, homosexuality can be considered unnatural and abnormal” (192). I will not discuss the finer points of the religious view in this essay, but will focus on the strength of the natural versus unnatural debate. Is homosexuality in essence an unnatural occurrence and if it is, does that stand as a valid claim against its morality?
One part of the claim that homosexuality is abnormal comes from the observation of mating habits within the animal kingdom. Animals typically choose a mate of the opposite sex for reproductive reasons to further the continuation of the species as a biological instinct. “Homosexuality is abnormal because it is biologically incompatible with nature. There isn’t a single creature in the animal kingdom which affords reproduction between species of the same sex” (Scovel, 1); this details the basic position of those who oppose the normality of gay interactions. If one observes only the surface of this statement, it would seem to be a valid point against the practice of homosexuality. But this is simply not a true observation when one closely examines the mating habits of a variety of species in the animal kingdom. Many animals display homosexual characteristics and some would argue that it does, in fact, promote reproduction rather than hinder it, although gay interactions may not directly result in offspring. Homosexual activity can be observed in animals on a very broad level to include animals that display homosexual tendencies in mating rituals and social interactions that may not involve direct sexual stimulation which I will label as mild forms of this example.