Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gay and celibate

I recall a conversation with a gay friend—a Christian—in which I argued that whether or not homosexuality was inherent for some, the requirement of Christian morality is that sex is reserved for marriage. So, whether gay or not, if you're not married, celibacy is the expectation. His response — I am heterosexual, never married — was that I was condemning him to a hopeless life, and that at least I had the possibility of sexual fulfillment.

Friday The New York Times published a profile of a thirty-something young woman, who, I gather from another source, may have grown up in Madison: "A Gay Catholic Voice Against Same-Sex Marriage".
...Ms. Tushnet can seem a paradox: fervently Catholic, proudly gay, happily celibate. She does not see herself as disordered; she does not struggle to be straight, but she insists that her religion forbids her a sex life.

“The sacrifices you want to make aren’t always the only sacrifices God wants,” Ms. Tushnet wrote in a 2007 essay for Commonweal. While gay sex should not be criminalized, she said, gay men and lesbians should abstain. They might instead have passionate friendships, or sublimate their urges into other pursuits. “It turns out I happen to be very good at sublimating,” she says, while acknowledging that that is a lot to ask of others.

Marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals, whose “relationships can be either uniquely dangerous or uniquely fruitful,” she explained in an e-mail message. “Thus it makes sense to have an institution dedicated to structuring and channeling them.”

But same-sex marriage, she wrote in The New York Post in 2007, “can bring one of three outcomes: A two-tiered marriage culture, where heterosexual couples are asked to do the hard things (sex only within marriage, marriage for life in most circumstances) and homosexual couples work out their own marriage norms; reshape marriage into an optional, individualized institution, ignoring the creative and destructive potentials of ‘straight’ sex; or encourage all couples to restrict sex to marriage and marry for life, and hope that gay couples accept norms designed to meet heterosexual needs.” ....
None of us manage to live out our moral obligations. That is why we Christians need confession, and repentance, and assurance of forgiveness. But surely Ms. Tushnet has got the expectations of biblical faith right and the fact that its demands are difficult hardly means that they should be abandoned.

Beliefs - A Gay Catholic Voice Against Same-Sex Marriage - NYTimes.com