This clip is almost a month old — it comes from a Bloggingheads diavlog about the Chick-Fil-A controversy — but I just got to it the other day and I’m still sort of amazed by the way it concludes.
“Let’s leave aside the question of whether or not being gay is a choice,” says Daniel Foster of the National Review Online, and then he proceeds to simply assume that it’s a choice or a behavior such that people can simply choose not to be — or act — gay.
For Foster, this is the central reason why the struggle for gay and lesbian equality shouldn’t be compared to the civil rights struggle: Being black isn’t a behavior, but being gay apparently might be. The presupposition here is that gays and lesbians are making a behavioral choice and they could simply choose to have a nice, traditional marriage instead. This is fairly preposterous … but, of course, Foster is only playing a hypothetical game here so he won’t get himself into trouble.
Now, if we don’t leave aside the “debate” about whether someone is born gay or not, as Foster has asked us to do to play his freshman year philosophy game, then Foster is simply arguing that gays and lesbians are making a choice to act on their sexual orientation when they might choose not to do so. They might be born gay, but they don’t have to behave that way … so why should they be rewarded by society with marriage equality?
Now, I’m not sure if I have a choice in the matter, but I find this line of argumentation pretty offensive.