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Should Marriage Between Homosexuals Be Permitted?

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Summary
Moderator: Thomas Atkins Advocate: Franklin Kameny, ACLU Advocate: Tobias Simon, Civil Rights Attorney Witnesses: Elaine Noble - Emerson College Dr. Richard Green - Assoc. Prof. of Psychiatry, UCLA Prof. Robin Smith - Dept. of Philosophy, Occidental College Dr. Charles Socarides, MD - Assoc. Clinical Professor, Albert Einstein Medical School
Topics
Atkins, Thomas I., Kameny, Frank, 1925-2011, Noble, Elaine, b. 1944, Green, Richard, 1936-, Socarides, Charles W., 1922-2005
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Transcript

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Announcer:
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Advocates, the PBS Fight of the Week. This program is made possible by grants from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Amoco Foundation, and the Coast Community College District.
Atkins:
May I have your attention, please, ladies and gentlemen.
Announcer:
Guest moderator Thomas Atkins, Secretary of Communities and Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has just called tonight's meeting to order.
Atkins:
Good evening. Tonight The Advocates looks at a question which raises both civil rights and moral issues. Specifically, our question is: Should homosexuals be permitted to marry? Advocate Franklin Kameny says yes.
Kameny:
Our homosexual American citizens are the last minority group in our society whose right even to have rights is frequently not recognized. With me tonight to argue for one of those rights of considerable real and symbolic importance is Elaine Noble, a gay woman, an Instructor at Emerson College in Boston, and Dr. Richard Green of the Department of Psychiatry of U.C.L.A.
Atkins:
Advocate Tobias Simon says no.
Simon:
We are prepared to treat the homosexual relationship the same way we would treat a man's mistress. We would not punish her for adultery, but we will not legitimize her with marriage. Toleration, not encouragement, is society's maximum obligation to the homosexual. With me tonight are Professor Robin Smith and Dr. Charles Socarides.
Atkins:
Thank you, gentlemen. Our program originates tonight from the Village Theater on the University of California campus at Irvine, and we're pleased to be here. We're also pleased to welcome Franklin Kameny to The Advocates. Dr. Kameny is an astronomer by training, a long-time gay activist, and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Gay Task Force and the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Opposing Dr. Kameny is Tobias Simon. Mr. Simon, who makes his second appearance on The Advocates, is an experienced civil rights lawyer currently practicing in Miami, Florida. We'll be back to both of you gentlemen shortly for your cases in a moment, but first a word of background on tonight's question.
Approximately fifteen million Americans, men and women, are homosexuals. For much of our history, they have been a silent and powerless minority, stigmatized by law and custom. But in the last few years this has been changing. Eight states have repealed statutes which punish the sexual conduct of homosexuals, and ten American cities have already passed laws prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Such bills are presently before the City Council of New York and elsewhere. While it would be far from accurate to say that homosexuals have won the battle for equal treatment under the laws of most state and municipal jurisdictions, tonight we go to what may be the ultimate test of our society's willingness to accept homosexuals as simply another minority group in our population, marriage. Marriage between homosexuals is already the subject of court suits in Minnesota, Kentucky and Washington, and within the past few years clergymen of several different denominations have married couples of the same sex. However, these unions are not recognized by civil law. That is the question we debate tonight. Should marriage between homosexuals be permitted and recognized by law? Dr. Kameny, the floor is yours.
Kameny:
Our society guarantees first class citizenship to all of its citizens, the right of the pursuit of happiness to all of its citizens, and the right to be different and to be unpopular without disadvantage to all of its citizens. Our society does not always respect those rights in practice. Exercise by homosexual couples of the right to marry detracts not one iota from the rights of heterosexual couples to marry. Homosexual marriages interfere with no one individually, and such marriages impair or interfere with no societal interest. In fact, they further some societal interest. They provide a myriad of special privileges given to legally married people. Most important, for many persons a legal marriage is psychologically supportive. The relationship is stabilized by it. For society to accuse us, as it does, of unstable, short-term relationships and then to deny us a powerful means of stabilization is to make their accusation self-fulfilling in a peculiarly vicious way. To extend the definition of the family to include gay couples in no way endangers or diminishes the institution of the family. Quite to the contrary, it strengthens it. Our society belongs to all of its members and segments. It is our society as homosexuals quite as much as yours as heterosexuals. If heterosexuals wishing it have the right to the benefits of marriage, then homosexuals wishing it have the right to the benefits of marriage. That equality is what America is all about. It is as simple as that. My first witness is Elaine Noble.
Atkins:
Welcome to The Advocates.
Noble:
Thank you.
Kameny:
Elaine Noble is an Instructor of Speech at Emerson College in Boston. She is a member of the Daughters of Bilitis, a national lesbian organization working for the rights of lesbian women. She is also a member of the National Organization for Women. Ms. Noble, as a homosexual, are you content and happy with your homosexuality?
Noble:
Very much so.
Kameny:
Is it correct, then, to say that if it were somehow possible to relive your life, you would not wish to have become a heterosexual.
Noble:
Good heavens, no. I really couldn't say that at all.
Kameny:
You find your homosexuality a source of satisfaction and happiness.
Noble:
Very much so. I don't see it as anything that degrades or takes away. I see it as a very valid and very fulfilling lifestyle.
Kameny:
As a homosexual, what do you see as the legal advantages of legalized homosexual marriages?
Noble:
I think that there are several, not to mention the joint income tax kind of thing that a couple may enjoy. There may very well be some benefits in terms of, morbid as they sound, there may be benefits in terms of a couple sharing some social security benefits after one is deceased. There are several legal kinds of options that heterosexual couples have that should be extended to homosexual couples.
Kameny:
Now, are there also personal advantages as well, and can you tell us what you see those to be?
Noble:
Well, I think that's really the question in terms of the personal advantages. I think whether your relationship be heterosexual or homosexual that there are stresses and strains in a relationship, and it seems among my colleagues who study heterosexual couples that the whole concept of marriage seems to strengthen the relationship and maintain the relationship during these periods of stress and anxiety, and if it seems to help heterosexual couples, then it should be extended to homosexual couples. I think that the real crux of the matter comes in terms of people coming out, such as in my own case. I can't very well ask my lover to come on a show like this with me because of family and sort of society's pressures. Now, if homosexual marriages were legalized, I think that both of us and many people, perhaps, in the audience tonight would be able to participate in the community in a very full and complete way, if we felt that the law was on our side. At the present time we don't feel it is. I think that in terms of shaping people's attitudes, making them change their minds and view homosexual relationships as a valid life style is probably the far more, and more valid, reaching part of that question.
Kameny:
It's said that homosexual relationships are notoriously unstable. Is this true?
Noble:
Well, given the fact that I think the current heterosexual divorce rate is up to 40%, I think maybe the stereotype is perhaps misplaced. And given the fact of many of the homosexual couples, lesbian couples, that I know of that have long-lasting relationships for ten or twenty years without societal sanctions, I think that that is probably the more apparent and the more valid and strong reason for realizing that homosexual relationships can be as fulfilling and as nurturing as heterosexual relationships. Absolutely.
Atkins:
Miss Noble, I'm going to have to interrupt right now to say that it's time for us to recognize Mr. Simon. Thank you very much. Dr. Kameny. Mr. Simon, your witness.
Simon:
Miss Noble, if indeed you are so content and happy with your romance, aren't you a little bit afraid of taking a chance on ruining it by getting married?
Noble:
Mr. Simon, are you speaking for me or for yourself, sir?
Simon:
I'm asking you ... I'm asking you quite simply if you feel that the marriage relationship has such a stabilizing effect, how can you point to the 40% divorce rate in the heterosexual marriage and then say that it will help the homosexual become more stable?
Noble:
Well, you see, that's a very good question. I think what we have to do is then define what we call marriage, and what I call marriage is having a very…the essence to me of marriage is having a very loving, supporting, and nurturing relationship. And perhaps heterosexuals, in terms of that divorce rate, it seems to me that from what I've read, the 40% who do get divorced again remarried, and those marriages seemed stable. But I'm defining marriage perhaps in a different way. It might be interesting to share your definition of marriage with us. Perhaps we're viewing it differently.
Simon:
Well, I wanted to ask you some questions about the incidence of marriage because it seems to me that marriage is designed primarily for the heterosexual couple and is inappropriate for the homosexual couple. I would like to ask you whether you plan to modify or change the marriage relationship. For example, in the homosexual marriage, will there be an identifiable head of the family?
Noble:
Well, I think that's probably ... I think that's sort of a dated question, don't you think . . . I assumed . . .
Simon:
I take it that you don't want to answer my question . . .
Noble:
Oh, but I do.
Simon:
You're merely sparring with me.
Noble:
I would really love to answer your question. .
Simon:
Well . . .
Noble:
. . . but I think that maybe ... I thought we started on a higher level, and I assumed that heterosexual marriages were ones that we're questioning— you know, that both partners are equal in that relationship. Perhaps you don't perceive marriage that way.
Simon:
Well, are you telling me, then, that there will not be an identifiable head and that both parties to the homosexual marriage will always be equal?
Noble:
I would assume that that's probably what the women's movement is trying to say about heterosexual marriages.
Simon:
All right. Will you tell me, please: will there be a change of name when there's a homosexual marriage?
Noble:
Probably depending upon whoever wants to change their name or what you want to pick.
Simon:
Will you tell me, please, whether the partners to the homosexual marriage will accept the responsibility of fidelity throughout their entire lifetime?
Noble:
Do you . . .
Simon:
Or don't you regard that as important?
Noble:
Well, I think that probably the better question is do heterosexuals regard that as a mainstay in relationships?
Simon:
Will you place that—will you place the homosexual obligation on the same par as the heterosexual obligation?
Noble:
I think really the crux of that is that I don't think that relationships or intimacies, that the closeness at the core of two people relating to each other, will really go out of style, Mr. Simon, and I really think that most people get a very deep sense of feeling and warmth in a relationship, and a feeling of wanting to go on and survive in this world by having a relationship with someone else.
Simon:
Well, do you contemplate the possibility of divorce within the homosexual union?
Noble:
Gee, at this point I'm just thinking about, you know, the marital first part . . .
Simon:
I see.
Noble:
I really hadn't gotten that, sort of, dismal point of view across.
Simon:
Well, dismal or otherwise, you are attempting to change the legal relationships that exist in our society, and if you want to act responsibly, I think you should direct yourself to the legal issues. Will you accede to the proposition that a homosexual couple, once married, can't separate without permission from the court, through a divorce. Will you agree to that?
Noble:
It would probably depend upon the court and the judge, I would think. That would vary in terms of state to state. I think that's a valid kind of response to have because a lot of people, in terms of heterosexual marriages, judge whether they'll stay together or separate depending upon the state or the judges or the laws of that state.
Simon:
The heterosexual couple really can't get separated without permission from the state. Are you prepared to assume that responsibility and that obligation to society?
Atkins:
A very short answer, please.
Noble:
I think so, yes.
Simon:
And what would be the grounds for divorce in a homosexual marriage?
Atkins:
I'm afraid we're not going to have time for an answer to that question. I'm going to return to Dr. Kameny.
Kameny:
Ms. Noble, what would you say to reassure parents who might be concerned that their children might end up in a homosexual marriage?
Noble:
I think probably what I would say to parents is that I would think that any parent who cares about their children would be more concerned about their children being in a loving and caring relationship, rather than what that sexual preference is of that person, that they would be more concerned with is their child, or their adult child, being loved, and are they caring and capable of a mature relationship.
Atkins:
Mr. Simon, one more question.
Simon:
Do you advocate the encouragement of homosexuality as a superior, or at least an equal, alternative to the male-female relationship, and if you ever had or adopted a child, which way would you prefer she turn out, or he?
Noble:
Well, you know, since I might be a little biased in my prejudice, but I'll try to answer that as logically as I see possible. I think in terms of my adopting a child, I would want my child to turn out in the way that is best for that child. I don't think—what is behind that question is saying, if two women who are lesbians have a child and raise the child, will she turn out to be a lesbian. I think since the whole world is based on a heterosexual norm that we would have to work awfully, awfully hard to turn that child out to be a lesbian.
Simon:
I think you have . . .
Atkins:
Miss Noble, I'm going to have to thank you very much for being with us and ask our advocates to recognize that it's time for us to move forward. Thank you for being on The Advocates. Dr. Kameny, your next witness, please.
Kameny:
My second witness is Dr. Richard Green.
Atkins:
Welcome to The Advocates, Dr. Green.
Kameny:
Dr. Green is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the U.C.L.A. School of Medicine. He has studied and written extensively about homosexuality. Dr. Green, many people still consider homosexuality a sickness or disturbance, an arrest of development, a sign of instability or immaturity. Do you consider this to be correct?
Green:
No, sir, I do not. I would say that that is an outmoded, outdated bias based on a lack of scientific information, based on a biased kind of clinical experience that most of us who are psychiatrists have had and have written about in the past. Most of us have seen people troubled by their sexuality, whether they be heterosexuals or homosexuals, and have generalized from that to the entire population of people that we do not see. This has been dramatically changed during the last five to six years. Without going into detail about the studies, I can say that there have been at least three studies, including over 1,000 persons, male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, who were not patients, who have been studied by psychiatrists and psychologists on a variety of interview and testing procedures, and what emerges from those studies is that there is no difference on any of the dimensions of mental health, be they heterosexual or homosexual non-patients. This has been translated into recent action by the American Psychiatric Association, which by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees and by popular referendum of the general membership has deleted homosexuality per se as a mental illness from the list of psychiatric disorders.
Kameny:
The question of homosexuality as a disease or illness is then firmly closed.
Green:
I believe it is, based on scientific data.
Kameny:
Thank you. Now, how would legal marriage affect the mental health of homosexuals?
Green:
I'd say that the greatest single event and the greatest single signal that we have as adults is our ability to share with another human being, to commit ourselves to an enduring, loving relationship, that in our society marriage is that social signal which says to the world that we have reached that level of maturation that we can go through life in a meaningful, enduring, interpersonal relationship. Those of us who formerly, and some of us still currently, who look upon the instability of homosexual relationships and at the same time deny them homosexual people, male and female, the same kinds of social support systems that heterosexuals do are essentially using a circular kind of logic, that the capacity for maturation and growth in our society is best signified by marriage. And until there is another such indicator, to deny the homosexual the right to marry is unfair to the homosexual, does not permit that person the same opportunities for mental growth.
Kameny:
Thank you. We have to move on somewhat quickly. Sizeable numbers of young people, teenagers and adolescents, are homosexual. How would legalization of homosexual marriages help these people?
Green:
Most adolescents when they discover their homosexuality during early adolescence are shocked and terrified because they have no one to turn to. They feel stigmatized and alienated in an alienated heterosexual society. They can't turn to their parents, they can't turn to their peer group, regrettably, they frequently can't turn to the medical or helping professions either. If there were available for these teenagers, who find themselves homosexually oriented, if there were available for them in the culture viable models where they can find the same kinds of potential happiness, where they can follow the same routes as the majority people search for happiness, then their mental health is going to be enhanced, their anxiety, alienation, and depression is going to be reduced.
Atkins:
Dr. Kameny, it's time to now allow Mr. Simon a chance to speak with your witness.
Simon:
Thank you. You are advocating the extension of marriage from the male-female relationship to the same sex relationship, are you not, sir?
Green:
For those who wish it, just as for males and females who also wish it.
Simon:
You're not insisting that homosexuals marry; you're giving them the opportunity to marry should they so desire.
Green:
The same opportunity.
Simon:
It represents an extension of the concept, does it not?
Green:
The concept of freedom to choose if one wishes to marry.
Simon:
Now, would you be willing—or do you insist— that homosexual marriages be limited to two persons, and if so, why?
Green:
The present time based—and I would like to remind you that I am a scientist, I'm a clinician—that based on the available scientific data we have, we know an awful lot about marital styles, we know an awful lot about one-to-one personal relationships. There is a growing body of interest and practice of group sexuality in this country and experiments with various kinds of atypical marriages, extended families, communal living. I would say at this point, as we gather scientific evidence, we know very little about those who involve themselves in group sexuality and in communal living. Until we have those data, as a scientist I would not say we know enough to say yes. By contrast, we know enough about homosexuals to say yes, they ought to be able to marry, we ought to, as scientists, reserve judgment until we have more information about other kinds of living arrangements.
Simon:
But aren't all of your arguments for the extension of marriage to homosexual couples equally applicable to the extension of marriage to three or more persons?
Green:
I just answered you, no. We have data in one field and not in another. That is not comparability.
Simon:
Would you, please, tell us whether you regard homosexuality as something one is born with, or is it in whole or in part a product of environmental influences.
Green:
It is to a considerable degree still unknown. What we do know is whatever the determinants are, they seem to be consolidated by the pre-school and certainly the early grade school years. There's evidence for a degree of pre-natal disposition. There's other evidence for early socialization influences, but by and large the ballgame seems to be over by the start of the grade school years.
Simon:
So then I think your answer is, if I can pierce through it, sir, that in part environmental influences do play a role.
Green:
Apparently so.
Simon:
Doesn't society, then, have a duty to encourage the heterosexual potential of our youth, and wouldn't you, as a counselor . . . Please allow the witness to answer. Wouldn't you, as a counselor, if given the opportunity, help a patient to realize his heterosexual rather than his homosexual potential?
Green:
I think the society's major commitment ought to be for the most self-actualization of any individual. There are happy heterosexuals, there are unhappy ones, happy homosexuals and unhappy ones. I don't believe that science or psychiatry should masquerade and come through to individuals in a moral, judgmental, or religious way, that I think our primary responsibility is to those who consult us, and that so long as they are not harming other people, that it is their wishes and is their lifestyle that is important. Toward that end, our responsibility as a helping professional is to make that way easier. We are not here to dictate the morals of anyone. We are here to help people find the happiness that they deserve no matter what their sexual preferences are.
Simon:
And if you found someone, then, on dead center, you are indicating to us by your lack of an answer that you wouldn't help him one way or the other.
Green:
I would help that individual find…
Simon:
Which way?
Green:
…find himself or herself.
Simon:
Which way, if he needed the help?
Green:
That would depend on the individual. The individual ought to maximize his social options and find out where, he or she basically fits for the most happiness that he or she will find. That's all any of us as human beings can ever hope for.
Simon:
Isn't it a fact that the concept of a legal marriage for the homosexual is nothing more than an excuse to secure for that individual certain tax and property advantages and to eliminate sexual discrimination, and if these could be provided in a more direct and a way which didn't affront the rest of our society, wouldn't you prefer that?
Atkins:
I'm going to have to have a very short answer.
Green:
I have more respect for marriage than merely as a tax shelter. I don't think it's like drilling for oil wells. I think that people marry for meaningful, lasting, interpersonal relationships, not to save tax money.
Simon:
Thank you.
Atkins:
Dr. Kameny, your witness. One more question.
Kameny:
Dr. Green, we hear much in this context about youngsters, teenagers, adolescents, who are supposedly on the fence between homosexuality and heterosexuality. Could you address yourself to that matter, please?
Green:
Well, first of all, I don't believe that most people when they discover their sexuality, be it just pre-adolescent or early adolescent, really are on the fence. If, in fact, there is a sub-group of adolescents who are on the fence, so to speak, with respect to heterosexuality or homosexuality, I think that for their mental health they ought to be able to see available to them good viable options which way they go, and that if they do, in fact, decide to choose heterosexuality, that they ought to choose that because of a positive attraction for heterosexuality, not because the society has labeled the alternate model as being sinful, criminal, or mentally disordered. That is not the route to mental health, nor should it be the route to heterosexual health.
Atkins:
One more question, Mr. Simon.
Simon:
Since homosexual marriages will not produce children, should homosexual marriages be subject to the laws against incest? In other words, why can't homosexual brothers marry? Or fathers and sons? Or mothers and daughters?
Atkins:
I'm not sure which question you're asking the witness . . . take his choice as to which one he answers.
Simon:
Are homosexual marriages subject to the laws against incest, and if so, why?
Green:
Incest—you know, you're mixing apples and pears —incest is a, and can be frequently, heterosexually or homosexually, sexual victimization that has nothing to do with a marital issue. And if you're concerned about reproduction in marriage and that being a vital issue, then why not limit marriage only to those heterosexuals who wish to reproduce?
Simon:
Thank you very much.
Atkins:
Dr. Kameny.
Kameny:
The United States Supreme Court has said that the right to marry is one of the basic civil rights of man. Civil rights, by their very nature, apply to all citizens. When we set up classes of citizens merely to be tolerated, we get unions of South Africa and American racism. Therefore we cannot properly be offered mere toleration by our society. The issue is our participation in our society on a basis of full and precise equality.
Atkins:
Thank you, Dr. Kameny. For those of you in our audience who may have joined us late, Dr. Kameny and his witnesses have just presented the case in favor of marriage between homosexuals being permitted. And now for the case against, Mr. Simon, the floor is yours.
Simon:
Thank you. Marriage, as the human race has known it for eons, is two things. First it is the personal commitment between two persons, and second it is the recognition and status given to this relationship by law and society. We recognize and we reward marriage precisely because it is the heterosexual family that produces and conditions the children that preserve and propagate the race. The law must encourage and protect the heterosexual marriage and elevate it above all other relationships. We do not deny the homosexual the right to any personal commitment he or she desires to make. We would abolish most laws prohibiting sexual conduct between and among consenting adults in private. We would permit homosexuals to live together in peace, but the law cannot recognize or legalize such unions. This is not discrimination or violation of civil rights. It is a matter of according the greatest deference to, and only to, the institution of the greatest importance. Relationships which debase, mimic, or threaten it, such as homosexual marriage, must not be permitted, since this will pose grave threats to the family unit which is so vital to our survival. I call as my first witness Professor Robin Smith.
Atkins:
Welcome to The Advocates, Dr. Smith.
Simon:
Robin Smith is the Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Occidental College. Good evening. Professor Smith, what is the heterosexual family? Please describe it in terms of its functions and purposes.
Smith:
Well, as I see it, the heterosexual family is the fundamental institution by which society insures the propagation and survival of the race, the human race. Not only does this involve the procreation of children, this also involves their nurture and training, and there seems to be a great deal of evidence that part of that training includes learning what sexual object to choose. Sexual behavior is not innate; it has to be learned. With other animals there seems to be plenty of evidence that the sexual object of a chicken or a duck, pigs, depends on what it learns in early life. Consequently, human beings, although much more complicated, still make their sexual choices on the basis of what they've been brought up like, and the heterosexual family insures that children will, at least in large part, grow up to reproduce themselves and raise their children properly.
Simon:
Well, would you tell us, then, please, what duty does the law have to protect and encourage this unique institution, the heterosexual family?
Smith:
Well, since the fundamental duty of the law and of society is to the survival of the race, the law must institute whatever sanctions, rewards, and special treatments are necessary to encourage people to enter into heterosexual unions and raise families.
Simon:
Is the heterosexual family the only relationship that society can tolerate, or can it, outside of traditional marriage, permit other relationships, including the homosexual relationship?
Smith:
Well, on the basis of what I've said, the only kind of rationale that there could be for prohibiting a certain kind of sexual relationship would be that it was inimical or hazardous to the heterosexual family as an institution. For instance, bigamy seems to be a very clear case of something that can't be tolerated. But there seems to be no reason on the basis of what I've said for prohibiting the homosexual relationship. There seems to be no reason to suppose that it's inimical to the interests of the heterosexual family. Consequently, I would advocate the abolition of all laws having anything to do with homosexual conduct, but that's a very different thing from homosexual marriage as an institution.
Simon:
What effects would flow if marriage concepts were to be extended to and engrafted full-blown on the homosexual relationship?
Smith:
Well, society, in effect, pays the heterosexual couple a bounty for establishing a family. There's a reward paid for a certain service rendered to the survival of the race. Now, if you were to simply rewrite marriage laws so that they no longer took account of the sex of the people involved, you would be paying that same reward to the homosexual couple while they don't render the same service. The merit isn't earned there. Moreover, you would be elevating them to the level of a paradigm to be emulated, a certain kind of relationship which is not particularly valuable to the survival of society. You want to elevate marriage to that position because you want it to be emulated, but homosexual marriage has no particular reason for being emulated like that.
Simon:
Well, would this be discrimination? Is this a denial of civil rights? Is the homosexual the new Negro?
Smith:
It seems to me this doesn't count as discrimination. We're not discriminating, and in fact I would advocate the following kind of abolition of discrimination. We should allow all people, homosexual, heterosexual or otherwise, free rights of sexual association. If people want to form any kind of unions with each other for however long they choose, they may. They also may remain solitary; they can be bachelors or hermits if they want. The only thing that I am saying is that we are not going to pay people a bounty for entering into homosexual relationships,' as we do pay them a bounty for entering into heterosexual relationships.
Atkins:
Dr. Kameny, I'm going to give you a chance to get at this witness. Thank you very much, Mr. Simon.
Kameny:
Thank you. Dr. Smith, you base a great deal of your rationale for marriage—you put it in terms of a special bounty and the like, as some sort of a payment for the raising of children. Are you then going to propose instituting a kind of a second class heterosexual marriage for heterosexual couples marrying beyond the child-bearing age, who voluntarily choose not to have children, or otherwise don't enter into the whole child-bearing game?
Smith:
Well, it seems to me that there's a certain bounty when having a minimum of institutions. Now, in this case you'd have to have some means of discriminating between couples who can and can't or couples who ever might and never will have children, and it doesn't seem to me that the law is competent to make that kind of judgment. Furthermore, we have historically behind us centuries of the use of heterosexual marriage, as we know the institution nowadays. I don't think we should tamper with that institution until we know a little bit more about possible side effects.
Kameny:
Do you seriously expect mass defections from heterosexual marriages if homosexuals are allowed to marry? Is heterosexuality really so unattractive?
Smith:
It seems to me that to find out the answer to that we'd have to conduct an experiment. We'd have to say, "All right, let's introduce the institution." Now, suppose that as a matter of fact it doesn't have much consequence. We find out that we were wrong and we could have tolerated them all along, and the benefits to society are, while significant, still not enormous. Suppose, however, that I am right. Suppose that there is a deleterious effect on the survival of the race and perhaps irreversible damage results. Then we, you know, we found out we were wrong and we can't do anything about it.
Kameny:
if there are such mass defections from heterosexuality, don't you think you had better start re-examining the whole value system, then, which elevates heterosexuality above homosexuality?
Smith:
Well, it seems to me that I don't have to examine one thing. If there is no heterosexuality, there is not going to be any reproduction, and the survival of the race is a value that I'm not going to discuss.
Kameny:
Now really. Dr. Smith. With half of Africa and Asia starving and the rest of us plagued by pollution and energy crises, are you seriously concerned with the survival of the race through under propagation?
Atkins:
Let the witness answer, please. Go ahead.
Smith:
The point that needs to be made here is that silly as it may sound, if right now nobody bore any more children forever, the human race would die out. It seems to me we shouldn't saddle ourselves with—who knows what kind of famine, pestilence or war may come in the future—we shouldn't saddle ourselves with not being able to do anything about that. And moreover, there are easier ways—there are easy ways to control population than . . .
Kameny:
Nevertheless, overpopulation is here; under-population is not here. Are you really seriously concerned that homosexual marriages might actually put us over some marginal line into under population?
Smith:
Once again, I am talking about an institution. I am not talking about practical measures right now. I'm talking about setting up an institution to remain as a fixed feature of society, let's say, forever. If you do something like that, when you put up an institution, you are not concerned with whether or not it is important right now. There is no reason to elevate the homosexual union, as there is a reason to elevate the heterosexual union. I'm willing to let homosexuals have all rights of association, all kinds of property rights, as I've said.
Kameny:
How kind of you.
Atkins:
We have time for one more question. Dr. Kameny. With a short answer, please.
Kameny:
All homosexuals come from heterosexual families, do they not?
Smith:
I assume so.
Kameny:
And are you going to assume that homosexual families are going to produce homosexuals necessarily and not heterosexuals?
Smith:
Well, it seems to me that statistically more heterosexuals than homosexuals come from heterosexual families. That's as good a reason as what you've just suggested for saying that more homosexuals than heterosexuals will come from homosexual families.
Atkins:
Dr. Kameny, one more question from Mr. Simon.
Simon:
What limitations are you suggesting that we make with regard to the property and sexual privileges that we are prepared to give to homosexuals?
Smith:
Scarcely any. The only kind of thing that I can see is that those areas of the law which seem to be deliberately designed at giving heterosexual couples a certain kind of bounty—for example, a separate income tax rate—it seems to me that could be preserved. But we could very well accord to homosexual couples the unmarried head of household tax rate, for example, because of the fact that they're undertaking the burden of supporting one another. Aside from that, I can't think of any particular reason for according them . . .
Atkins:
I have time for just one very brief question from Dr. Kameny.
Kameny:
You've indicated that you don't really know that any of these supposedly dire consequences would flow from homosexual marriages. Are you really willing on the basis of dubious logic and deductions to deny large groups of people their civil rights?
Smith:
Well, once again, I'm not denying them civil rights. I'm simply denying them a certain kind of bounty, and besides that, it seems to me that we can't afford to find out. I mean, I could be right too, you know.
Atkins:
Thank you very much for being on The Advocates. Mr. Simon, your next witness, please. Mr. Simon, your next witness.
Simon:
Dr. Socarides. Dr. Charles Socarides is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Socarides, based on your clinical experiences and years in the psychoanalytic investigation of homosexuality, how would you describe the homosexual?
Socarides:
Well, Mr. Simon, the homosexual—that is, an exclusive homosexual, and there are various types of homosexual; there is homosexual behavior which is not true homosexuality—is a person who out of inner necessity must engage in homosexual relations. Otherwise, he experiences a great deal of anxiety. He's a product really of a process of very, very bad child rearing practices, which have caused certain difficulties in his own sense of identity, certain types of anxieties, and certain other inner conflicts, which make him on many occasions have an equilibrium which is quite unstable. As a matter of fact, the homosexual act itself we now conceive of analytically as an exquisitely designed symptom which helps keep him in equilibrium, and that's why homosexual counseling centers should not tamper with this very, very delicate balance. Those people were not trained to do so.
Simon:
Dr. Socarides, do you believe that the legalization of the homosexual union would aid the homosexual or would add to his instability?
Socarides:
That's quite a difficult question. There are certainly some homosexuals who want economic advantages and feel better with that, but, however, I've seen very few homosexuals who ever really wanted marriage. It occurs sometimes in older males who have younger men lovers and sometimes in older women with other young lesbian women. Now, this is an economic advantage to some degree, but I think that marriage, as everyone has pointed out today, being such a difficult state, I think that the bonds which would keep them together, the state bonds, the national bonds, might create considerable anxiety. Most homosexuals must seek, and strive, and look for numerous partners in order to try-and find themselves, the replicas of themselves.
Simon:
And marriage of course would prevent the changing of partners.
Socarides:
Yes, it would. That's right. It would make them subject not only to the laws, but to the laws as expressed by their partner who forced them to stay in relationships that they don't particularly want to stay in for very long.
Simon:
Well now, are these your reasons for refusing marriage to the homosexual?
Socarides:
No, absolutely not. Not at all. My reasons have to do something with the fact that I believe that this is a social recklessness to raise homosexual marriage to the status of heterosexual marriage, an extreme form of social recklessness, and also psychiatric disaster which has already happened recently in trying to normalize homosexuality.
Simon:
Well, what effect would the marriage of homosexuals have on youth and children in our society?
Socarides:
Well, we must go back to the fact that sexuality, the heterosexual pattern, is a piece of learned behavior. You can learn homosexual patterning too, not true homosexuality perhaps, but homosexual behavior on a scale beyond your imagination, and with consequences perhaps too tragic to mention here. There will be many, many more homosexual liaisons of a casual nature, many more homosexual encounters. Youth itself may be led into self-despising patterns of homosexuality, frail heterosexual organizations of children may be tempted into homosexual behavior, which will have a deleterious effect on the sexual role in accordance with anatomy that a particular person has to play in life. You cannot escape that. Either man is either first as a male or a female, or he's an intersex, and most—we're not talking about intersexes. A man must be a man, a woman must be a woman. Now, there are certain variations of these.
Atkins:
I'm going to have to interrupt right now to indicate that it's now time for Dr. Kameny to question this witness. Thank you, Mr. Simon.
Kameny:
Dr. Socarides, until 1942 your profession listed masturbation as a mental illness. Is that not true?
Socarides:
I think . . .
Kameny:
Yes or no. Dr. Socarides.
Socarides:
. . . compulsive masturbation is still a form of psychiatric disorder, although it is not listed in the DSM-II.
Kameny:
So you have your own . . .
Socarides:
Yes, because it is a form, it is a form, yes.
Kameny:
Very well. So you have your own listing of illnesses. And the American Psychiatric Association, when it was founded in the vicinity of the middle 1850’s and its founder considered blackness to be a sign of genetic illness, is this not correct?
Socarides:
I'm not familiar with that, but perhaps you're right.
Kameny:
I am. Now, of course we don't believe any of that today. Judgments have changed. Isn't it possible that in fifty years it will be considered just as ludicrous when we hear all the comments that you have made about homosexuality? And is it not true that even now the views which you express, as indicated by a poll which was initiated by you yourself of the American Psychiatric Association, represents the views of a minority of psychiatry?
Socarides:
Mr. Kameny, the poll, I'm afraid, is a fraud because . . .
Kameny:
Losers in polls always say that. Dr. Socarides.
Socarides:
Well, I want to tell you something. This is now being subject to serious scrutiny. We have entered a complaint on this matter because all the publicity and all the vote-getting procedures for the other side were dictated by, paid for, and sent out by the National Gay Task Force.
Kameny:
That is factually untrue.
Socarides:
And without the knowledge of the psychiatric profession. Now, we just wonder what's going to happen in a re-run if we can get one.
Kameny:
You won't. Is it not true that there are many homosexuals who do not seek a variety of partners?
Socarides:
I have not met very many, Mr. Kameny. Occasionally you do meet one or two who really, however, want to be heterosexual and want to approximate a kind of male-female patterning, and they cannot tolerate the idea of society being so much against homosexuality as it has been in the past. It is now changing, I know. But I've only occasionally of the hundreds and hundreds of patients I've seen who are homosexual seen those who can be satisfied, not because they don't want to be, but because they can't help it. They must find many, many objects who can fill them up with a kind of identity, and this means they must go from person to person to find this particular fulfillment.
Kameny:
Has it never occurred to you, Dr. Socarides, that the many gay couples whom I have seen who in fact do not seek a variety of partners, who do not seek to pattern their lives on a male-female model in any sense, wouldn't go near you and your colleagues for treatment because they don't need it, and therefore your sampling is grossly non-representative?
Socarides:
Well, that matter has come up before, Frank. You know we've argued that, and it has been that we only see a skewed sampling of homosexuals because we only see those who come in who are complaining. But these complaining ones then tell us of their friends, and occasionally their friends come in and see us for consultation; we find exactly the same thing with the same psychopathology.
Kameny:
Have you no conception. Dr. Socarides, of what a travesty of science that it, the method you have just indicated. That is not the way to do science, Dr. Socarides.
Socarides:
The only method I use, Mr. Kameny, is in depth psychoanalytic investigation, requiring weeks and weeks, if not months and years, of work before we come to a decision as to what really makes up an obligatory homosexual. I'm not talking now about homosexual behavior, encounters engaged in for a variety of reasons and now because society tells us it's okay. The effect of this on society will be enormous. The effect of this on families, the effect of this on fathers who—they suffer a slight potency disturbance—will try men. Women, unhappy with their husbands, may try women in a kind of temporary regression because this is the way they feel they can achieve temporary alleviation of their anxieties. Adolescents, and not to mention the individual homosexual himself, will be put into despair because medicine and psychiatry is now telling him, "There's nothing wrong with you. You're only neurotic and complaining. Be a homosexual."
Atkins:
Doctor, we have time for just one brief question with a brief answer.
Kameny:
If two men—no, I'll change that. You stated that in those instances where there were stable marriages or relationships between homosexuals, they always involve two couples of disparate ages. You assigned . . .
Socarides:
I didn't say they were stable.
Kameny:
You assigned a variety of economic . . .
Socarides:
I didn't say they were stable.
Kameny:
. . . bases. Are you aware that all of the cases, the growing number that have come before the court to legalize gay marriages, have all been between two men, two women, of comparable ages and comparable circumstances, thereby belying your entire characterization of such relationships.
Socarides:
I'm sure there have been those too, but there are also the other kind.
Kameny:
Those are the only ones who have so far come forward.
Atkins:
Thank you very much. Dr. Kameny. Mr. Simon, another question.
Simon:
Do you realize, Doctor, that there have only been three cases of this kind? Do you feel that is an adequate number of cases to create the example that Dr. Kameny wants to suggest to you?
Socarides:
No, I certainly do not.
Simon:
Would you relate, please, to this audience what effect the creation of a mimic marriage through the homosexual marriage would have on the heterosexual family in our society?
Atkins:
Brief answer, please.
Socarides:
I think it will drive—homosexuality cannot keep our society going. It cannot—it militates against the family and the cohesiveness of a society. Future generations will give no thanks to us if we declare homosexual marriage is equivalent to heterosexual marriage.
Atkins:
Time for one brief question from Dr. Kameny.
Kameny:
Dr. Socarides, aren't you, in effect, trying to use your psychiatry as a means of social control and are therefore, in fact, simply imposing your own moral judgments upon the whole matter, which is not a proper function for psychiatry, or for you in your role as a psychiatrist?
Socarides:
Mr. Kameny, I'm not a politician, I am simply a clinician. I know certain information, as do certain other analysts—that is, there are 179 references in my book, contrary to what Dr. Green said there is no evidence, which show that homosexuality of the obligatory type, not of transient type, not of the homosexual encounters, but in cases where it's obligatory and exclusive, that in those cases there is pathology. We are interested in helping the individual homosexual. The despair you create, sir, in burying the homosexual and taking him out of the realm of medicine and psychiatry, I would say is much worse. I am for civil rights; I was the first psychiatrist in America . . .
Atkins:
Dr. Socarides, I'm going to have . . .
Socarides:
…to ask for civil rights.
Atkins:
I'm going to have to interrupt you and thank you very much for being our guest on The Advocates, but we must move along. Dr. Kameny, Mr. Simon, that completes our cases, and now it's time for each of you to present your closing arguments. Mr. Simon, your summary, please.
Simon:
Thank you, Mr. Atkins. The issue tonight is not civil rights for homosexuals. That is an appeal to your liberal conscience, and the personal bias of this particular audience. But it is a red herring. We favor the end to all forms of discrimination against homosexuals in sex, jobs, housing, and places of public accommodation, but the male-female marriage is now, and always has been, the place where babies are born, reared and conditioned. That is the first and the only reason why the state recognizes marriage and rewards it with special privileges and financial help. Without babies there would be no society. And since homosexual unions do not produce babies, there is no justification for them to be specially recognized or equally rewarded. This is not discrimination. There are essential differences between hetero- and homosexual couples that warrant differences in treatment. For homosexual couples to insist upon the same recognition as married couples is a falsification of basic biological realities. Same sex marriages constitute civil silliness, not civil rights. We urge you to vote no. Thank you.
Atkins:
Thank you, Mr. Simon. Dr. Kameny, your summary, please.
Kameny:
The issue at hand is whether the alleged harmful effects of homosexual marriages justify denying civil rights, imposing second class citizenship and doing psychological damage to some fifteen million American citizens of all ages. The answer is a resounding no because no such harmful effects at all have been shown. Our witnesses have stated that such marriages would benefit both the individual homosexual and society and would do so without harming heterosexual marriages, and without harming society. Such marriages would in no way at all interfere with or detract from traditional heterosexual marriages or from the institution of the family, but would merely extend them to people not now included. The claim that homosexual marriages would endanger the survival of the human species is laughably ridiculous and unrealistic in an era in which over-propagation not under propagation is the problem. One of the basic principles for which America stands is set forth in our nation's birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, as the "inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness," reworded currently as the right to do your own thing. If you truly believe in Americanism, you can only vote yes upon the resolution before you.
Atkins:
Thank you. And now it's time for you in our audience to get involved. You've heard the advocates. What do you think about tonight's question? Should marriage between homosexuals be permitted? Send us your "yes" or "no" vote on a letter or postcard to The Advocates, Box 1974, Boston 02134. The issue of the rights of homosexuals is being debated in states and cities across the country. What do you think? Send us your votes and we will tabulate the results and make them known to state representatives and others concerned with this issue. Remember the address: The Advocates, Box 1974, Boston 02134.
Recently The Advocates debated the question, "Should we have a permanent Special Prosecutor's office?" Of the almost 1,100 votes we received, 45% said yes, that political conflicts of interest within the Department of Justice dictate the need for this new special office. 55% said no, that the reasons for a Special Prosecutor's office would no longer exist once Watergate goes away.
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And now, with thanks to our advocates and to their table of distinguished witnesses, and with special thanks to our audience here tonight and to the people of the University of California for allowing us the use of this Village Theater, we conclude tonight's debate.
Announcer:
The Advocates as a program takes no position on the issues debated tonight. Our job is to help you understand both sides more clearly.
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