The following is a debate between me and other law students,
Jay Powell, Alan Goldberg, Kenneth Miller, and James Nolan, at the University of Arizona College of Law.
We used an internet forum set up by the college.
JAY: > Give it a few more years, and not only will this law be struck down, but the military will likely have a few more open minds. I’m not saying that the military will become this bastion of tolerance and free-thought, but with each day, the relative equality of gays in the military becomes more likely.>
EDIP: In political context, concepts like tolerance, open mind and free-thought are pregnant with intolerance, narrow mindedness and biased-thought. They can be abused by politicians like conservative concepts such as righteousness, family values and patriotism.
I have a little question for those free-thinkers who support homosexuals but are silent to the plight of more oppressed groups such as those who want to practice polygamy, bestiality, child pornography and incest: how open is your mind?
The second question: how tolerant are you for those who find homosexuality disgusting?
I am against discrimination of homosexuals, with a single exception of the title “marriage”. But, personally I find homosexuality morally wrong and sexually disoriented. It is an assembly-line-error in the factory of evolution, augmented by free-choice. It is a product of genetic anomaly and wrong choice.
JAY: >Edip makes an interesting point which illustrates how all of us retain a certain measure of intolerance. This point is well taken. At the same time, we should be wary not to accept overt intolerance and invidious discrimination. The mere existence of “X” amount of rights is not an inherent reason to receive further rights. Similarly, the existence of “X” amount of intolerance is not an excuse for further intolerance. I understand that the “X” is different for all of us – yet that is hardly a reason to correlate bestiality and homosexuality.>
EDIP: Thanks Jay for your response. If our argument for a particular right can be exactly used for another right, then we should not ignore the other. Similarly situated must be treated similarly. Otherwise, we are either:
1. Acting hypocritically.
2. Defending those who have more power.
3. Not have confidence in our argument.
Please provide me with your REASONS why homosexuality should be accepted as a right; but bestiality and all the rest should not? You did not answer the point of my argument, but rejected without providing any reason.
JAY: >Edip, I understand your desire for me to prove (in specific terms) why homosexuality is a right. To do that, I must clarify my position on the issue of homosexual rights. I should state that I am more closely aligned to Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas on most issues that receive the attention of the Supreme Court.>
EDIP: Ironically, I am more closely aligned with Brennan and his ilk.
JAY: > Edip, in your initial argument on “open-mindedness”, you claimed that homosexuality was both “genetic mutation” and “disgusting, wrong choice.” As for homosexuality being a genetic mutation, if so – then it creates an issue of immutability. This immutability would probably allow for heightened review under the 14th Amendment. End of discussion.>
EDIP: Well Jay, you have confused the connector AND with OR. Overwhelming scientific research and the reality (conversion of some homosexuals to heterosexuality) shows that the combination of the two is true.
Second, almost all behaviors have genetic (immutable) base. Immutability alone, more accurately, semi-immutability does not trigger heightened scrutiny. Otherwise, those who commit violent crimes, or rape or burglary can seek less punishment or no punishment. At least, they might ask us to give up from morally condemning them. Sure, you might think that homosexuality has no negative impact on the society. If you do think so please let me know. I will deal with that point, God willing.
JAY: > As for homosexuality being “disgusting” and a “wrong choice”, those are hardly grounds for a constitutional violation. You asked me to prove why homosexuality is a right – but I must remind you that our Constitution grants us unenumerated rights under the 9th Amendment. We can limit them ourselves, or choose not to do so.>
EDIP: People, via their representatives might chose not to legalize or normalize certain behaviors. I believe that an argument based on Equal Protection or “open-mindedness” is doomed to be hypocritical, if it is done only for Homosexuals. I think those who prefer bestiality, incest, polygamy, child pornography and torturing animals are similarly situated with homosexuals (I have chosen my examples carefully and ready to defend each of them). Do you see any Constitutional barrier for those rights? If no, then why not advocate the rights of those most oppressed groups? Why then don’t you define open-mindedness with being in favor of those most oppressed minorities? Are you bestialiphobic? or incestophoic? or pornophobic? or animal-torturephobic?
Please forgive me for this language. I do not mean to offend you. I belong to a group of people who is labeled and stereotyped with the buzz-word “homophobic” and thus demand equal condemnation:-) I just want to pull your attention to the trouble with associating open-mindedness with promoting rights for homosexuals while denying those rights for other similarly situated groups. Is the definition of open-mindedness under the monopoly of those who do not recognize any moral values?
JAY: > For example, it may be “disgusting” and a “wrong choice” to eat at McDonald’s. This may offend your bodily constitution, yet it does not offend the federal Constitution.>
EDIP: I loved your poetic answer:-) I agree with you hundred percent. But, I would caution you to distinguish between allowing people to eat at McDonald’s and legalizing (via Equal Protection), justifying (via the rhetoric of progress and open-mindedness), and sanctifying (via marriage) a life-style which is CONSTITUTIONALLY no different than using drugs, having sex with animals, polygamy, child pornography, committing incest, torturing animals, etc. Furthermore, legalization, justification and promotion are three different positions.
I believe that the Congress can legalize many activities, such as drinking liquor, homosexual activity, using drugs, incest, bestiality, even child pornography. But, it is not the job of appointed nine Supreme Court justices to mess with people’s moral values, even if those values were baseless.
Alas, we did not even discuss the source of morality!
JAY: >Thanks for listening
EDIP: I thank you twice for listening and trying to decipher my grammatically handicapped and emotionally loaded writings. English is chronologically my fifth language, and speaking-up against promotion of homosexuality is my hundred and fifth activity.
PS: If you wonder about the title SODOMY: I chose the traditional and historical name for the following reason: homosexuals are trying to get (in fact, spoil) the traditional title “marriage,” then, I found it appropriate to use their traditional name. Peace,
JAY: >Edip, the short answer to your question is this: 1. In my opinion, the Constitution does not concern itself with the issue of homosexuality. It is not a federal right. 2. In that case, the 10th Amendment allows either the states OR the people to pass legislation with a rational basis to it. 3. Thus, the states can either restrict gay rights (as they did in Colorado) OR they can choose to further the cause of gay rights.>
JAY: > 4. For me, I simply differentiate homosexuality and bestiality on the basis that there is some probative evidence to show that homosexuality is to some degree immutable. Others are probably more persuasive at differentiating the two activities than I am.>
EDIP: There is no such probative evidence. In fact it is just does not make sense to claim that homosexuality is genetically justified but incest, bestiality, child-pornography, animal-torturing are not. I am sure that there are some homosexual or “open-minded” scientists who try hard to distinguish homosexuality from other deviations.
I would like to hear other persuasive arguments at differentiating homosexuality from other activities. I am really interested. Peace,
SCOUNDREL & MORAL MAJORITY!
KENNETH: >Edip once again parades his naughty list of things that gay-rights supporters must necessarily support because of the logical connection between gay rights and the other naughty practices. First, to paraphrase an old maxim, the slippery slope fallacy is “the last refuge of a scoundrel.” By attempting to link the support of gay rights with less popular and dubiously related issues, we are led away from the issue at hand–the propriety of gay rights and allowing adults to practice homosexuality. This issue can be openly and honestly debated without the practice of ‘negative campaigning.’ If homosexuality and gay rights are the issues, we should discuss them rather than subverting the discussion by inserting the highly charged issues of bestiality, child porn, and the like.>
EDIP: First, Ken, let me retaliate your old maxim with a new maxim: “the fallacy of ignoring the slippery slope argument is the last refuge of hypocrites and of those who cannot make consistent arguments.” If we cannot tailor our argument for homosexuals alone, then we must show the honesty and the courage to acknowledge those other groups who are also entailed by our argument. We cannot close our eyes to the end of the slippery slope. Everything we decide has consequences. We cannot ignore tomorrow. In fact, we are ignoring the present, since presently there are many oppressed “deviant” groups like homosexuals.
It seems that it is okay to use and abuse in a very sloppy way the other end of the slippery slope (that is race discrimination) to justify homosexuality; but it is scoundrelous to use the other end! Have you heard Ken the word double-standard?
Ken: >Second, I am loathe to allow the discussion to be framed in terms of a homosexuality-to-bestiality continuum. Yet, while I tend to think the attempted link to the naughty practices is, in the minds of those making the argument, thought of as a clever reply to the more progressive types who support gay rights–a type of ‘cunning’ intellectual trap for the unwary ‘politically correct,’ if you will–rather than a true invitation to open minded discussion, I also sense an opportunity to explore the philosophical underpinnings of Edip’s argument.>
EDIP: Why bestiality, child pornography, polygamy, incest, animal-torturing and similar activities are naughty practices; but homosexuality is a right practice?
Ken: >Dworkin wrote, “May a ‘moral majority’ limit the liberty of other citizens on no better ground than that it disapproves of the personal choices they make?” More specifically, “Should adults be free to make their own decisions about sex when these decisions have no direct impact on others?”>
EDIP: I find Dworkin’s principle sound and practical. But, his conclusion is hasty. Do you claim that homosexuality has no impact on others? Do you claim that the aforementioned “naughty practices” have direct impact on others?
Ken: >These are the questions that should inform our discussion of gay rights, not whether or not homosexuality is analogous to sex with animals. >
EDIP: So nice! Why don’t you reject the more distant analogy drawn between homosexuality and race? Analogies, even the most ridiculous ones are accepted when they are used in favor of homosexuality. But, an analogy is “cunning” when it is used to expose the hypocrisy or inconsistency of gay-right advocates!
Ken: >We may or may not agree on the answer to Dworkin’s former question. But if we agree that a moral majority may not limit liberty merely because of disapproval, then the debate shapes up to be whether or not homosexuality directly (adversely) impacts others. We can ask the same questions of the other practices, but that does not inform our discussion of gay rights.>
EDIP: Dear Ken, it is the majority that defines the limit of liberty. It is the moral majority that sanctifies property and condemns “sharing the natural resources” as “stealing.” It is the moral majority that disapproves certain trade as “smuggling” It is the moral majority that approves “the un-earned wealth” under the name of “gambling”. It is the moral majority that limits the liberty of child pornographers. It is the moral majority that sanctifies inheritance. It is the moral majority that penalizes those who do not pay taxes. It is the moral majority that requires nudists to put cloth on themselves while they are in public. It is the moral majority that expect “respect” to the Constitution. And it is the moral majority that gives rights to minorities.
Are you ready to discuss the source of morality?
ONE LAST ATTEMPT
ALAN: >Edip, first, the other groups which you mention are not similarly situated (at least not in my mind they aren’t). There is a big difference between consensual activities between adults and each of the activities which you mention (they have victims – unless I suppose if you are Dr. Doolittle and can figure out if the animals consent).>
EDIP: When did we start making the consent of animals a constitutional issue? Do states require pet owners to prove the consent of their pets? The issue, then is not the consent of animals but the liberty of their owners. If they want to have fun and sex with their animals let them (i.e., persons) have it with PRIDE. Furthermore, if some adults want to practice polygamy let them do it with PRIDE. It is selfish to deny others from the same rights with petty reasons, indeed, with no reason at all.
ALAN: >Second, I think that you need to study research and experimental design. There is ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE THAT IS WORTH LOOKING AT in the research annals suggesting that homosexuals can be turned into heterosexuals via therapy. >
EDIP: Sure, all those who claim that they became heterosexuals after practicing homosexuality are lying! There is a big conspiracy against homosexuals!
ALAN: >At this point, I would like to suggest that the topic of homosexuality be excluded from the CON LAW II listserv system. I am not interested in hearing the same tired arguments again and again. >
EDIP: I do agree. I am also tired of hearing lame excuses and hypocritical arguments on behalf of a deviant life-style. Please note that I am sincerely for your legal rights, equal to heterosexuals, (as for marriage, it should remain as a religious institution and should not receive governmental favor), and if moral values are assumed irrelevant, then, I am also for the rights of all other deviant groups, including bestialists, child-porno fans, polygamists, incestists (sic?), animal-torturers, and those we have never heard of yet. However, I, as a moral person I am against all of the above. I will fight tooth and nail against promotion or normalization of these life-styles, or behaviors.
Alan, you are my friend. I really mean it. You might hate me because of my disagreement with your life-style. But, I will always keep my love for you and my hate to the promotion of your life-style. I believe that you are MORE than a homosexual. It is just a part of your life-style which is highlighted because of the context. I am not an angle. If you disagree with any of my causes, I expect from you to criticize them with all your passion. I will thank you for your sincerity and your care. If I am convinced I will try my best to correct my position on any issue.
I will not answer to your reply if you do not indicate otherwise, since I am just REACTING to the promotion of homosexuality. I also protest those who promote the discrimination homosexuals by the GOVERNMENT. Peace,
Re: EDIP’S RECENT MESSAGE
ALAN: >I find your arguments weak and suggest again that you enroll in a research design class, Edip. There are many of us who are not homosexual who believe that gay rights are important. Your assumption that I am gay, based on my defense of gay rights is ridiculous. I am not a Christian follower of Falwell, Graham, or other evangelists, but I believe in their right to preach. I am not Black, but I believe in Black rights I am not gay, but I believe in gay rights. You may call me a liberal, if you like.>
EDIP: Dear Alan. You found my argument weak without dealing with it. Your previous letter was also the same. You just made a claim without any supporting argument or counter-argument. Without participating the arguments you invited me to stop discussing on homosexuality. It is curious how adult people are jumping in the bandwagon and are happy to have monologue on controversial issues.
I was considering myself liberal until recently. (Now, I know that I am a moderate:-) In my dismay, I found the so-called “politically correctness” terrorizing students under the guise of liberalism. I was surprised when I discovered that many students are afraid of speaking their mind. I believe that this is a shame. A shame for a country where the freedom of speech is the vital principle!
As for your homosexuality… I made an assumption and I was wrong. I believe that you cannot construct my assumption as an insult, since you find no problem with being homosexual. Therefore, I owe you no apology. If I am again making a wrong assumption, that is, you are offended by my remark, then I apologize you, and I am ready for the remedy.
Have a nice weekend,
MINORITY v MINORITY
JAMES: > Edip Yuksel ([email protected]) wrote: “And it is the moral majority that gives rights to minorities.” An interesting proposition which really strikes right to the heart of one’s concept of government and justice. It is not one I am willing to accept. I believe that all have rights ( true, it is a dated Lockian point of view, but one that the founders of the constitution found valid….) and that a majority cannot grant what one already is entitled to. A majority might, on the other hand, usurp those rights. In such a case though, I would hardly call the majority “moral.”>
EDIP: Dear James, can you explain the reason for entitlements? It took centuries to discover some of those entitlements, and it will probably take more years to discover additional ones. Do you think that the entitlements exist somewhere as an apriori truth? That they can be discovered objectively and universally, like 2×2=4? Do you believe in natural law? Or, do you think they are the product of human experience? If you base your belief (absoluteness of those rights) on the notion of Natural Law, then I have no objection at this point. But, if you are rejecting such a notion, you will have real problem in avoiding the truth in my statement.
In brief, what is your moral argument regarding the rights of minorities? Why there must be equal protection of law? Why should a majority care about a minority that does not have power? Majority cares about minorities for its short and long term interest and security. Thus, rights of minorities are grants by the majority. Majority can take them whenever it feels that it does not need to accommodate minorities. Majority can ignore minorities that do not voice their problems in a threatening level. Majority always calculates the cost of granting entitlements and the cost of not granting them.
Why are we not entitled to equal share of land? If you have not thought about equal rights in property entitlement, that is because you are raised in a system that has trained you not to think that way.
Another question? Why are we not entitled to equal health care? Do not rush to belittle this question. If you do, I am absolutely sure that you have no idea about how indoctrinated you are by the majority.
Well, let me surprise you with a twist. In fact, majorities are manipulated by the most powerful minorities. In US, the ruling minority is the one percent who controls the 40 percent of the country’s total wealth. They are the one who pick the candidates and they are the one who convince the majority to elect one of them, and they are the ones who dictate the elected officials what to do. The members of the Supreme Court are not out of this game. They can never challenge the principles of capitalistic system. They can never question whether all citizens are entitled to food, shelter and health care. They can never challenge the system of inheritance, etc.
Therefore, I will assert that, the rights of oppressed minorities are granted by powerful minorities through manipulation of majorities. Democracy is a sophisticated magical tool for this old game!