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.
May I have your attention, please, ladies and gentlemen.
Guest moderator Thomas Atkins, Secretary of Communities and Development for
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has just called tonight's meeting to
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
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
Advocate Tobias Simon says no.
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.
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
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 Eight states have repealed statutes which punish the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
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.
Welcome to The Advocates.
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?
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.
Good heavens, no. I really couldn't say that at all.
You find your homosexuality a source of satisfaction and
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.
As a homosexual, what do you see as the legal advantages of legalized
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
Now, are there also personal advantages as well, and can you tell us what
you see those to be?
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.
It's said that homosexual relationships are notoriously unstable. Is this
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.
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,
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
Mr. Simon, are you speaking for me or for yourself, sir?
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?
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
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?
Well, I think that's probably ... I think that's sort of a dated question,
don't you think . . . I assumed . . .
I take it that you don't want to answer my question . . .
You're merely sparring with me.
I would really love to answer your question. .
. . . 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.
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
I would assume that that's probably what the women's movement is trying to
say about heterosexual marriages.
All right. Will you tell me, please: will there be a change of name when
there's a homosexual marriage?
Probably depending upon whoever wants to change their name or what you want
Will you tell me, please, whether the partners to the homosexual marriage
will accept the responsibility of fidelity throughout their entire
Or don't you regard that as important?
Well, I think that probably the better question is do heterosexuals regard
that as a mainstay in relationships?
Will you place that—will you place the homosexual obligation on the same par
as the heterosexual obligation?
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.
Well, do you contemplate the possibility of divorce within the homosexual
Gee, at this point I'm just thinking about, you know, the marital first part
. . .
I really hadn't gotten that, sort of, dismal point of view across.
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
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.
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?
A very short answer, please.
And what would be the grounds for divorce in a homosexual
I'm afraid we're not going to have time for an answer to that question. I'm
going to return to Dr. Kameny.
Ms. Noble, what would you say to reassure parents who might be concerned
that their children might end up in a homosexual marriage?
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.
Mr. Simon, one more question.
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
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.
I think you have . . .
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,
My second witness is Dr. Richard Green.
Welcome to The Advocates, Dr. Green.
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?
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
The question of homosexuality as a disease or illness is then firmly
I believe it is, based on scientific data.
Thank you. Now, how would legal marriage affect the mental health of
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
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?
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.
Dr. Kameny, it's time to now allow Mr. Simon a chance to speak with your
Thank you. You are advocating the extension of marriage from the male-female
relationship to the same sex relationship, are you not, sir?
For those who wish it, just as for males and females who also wish
You're not insisting that homosexuals marry; you're giving them the
opportunity to marry should they so desire.
The same opportunity.
It represents an extension of the concept, does it not?
The concept of freedom to choose if one wishes to marry.
Now, would you be willing—or do you insist— that homosexual marriages be
limited to two persons, and if so, why?
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.
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
I just answered you, no. We have data in one field and not in another. That
is not comparability.
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
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.
So then I think your answer is, if I can pierce through it, sir, that in
part environmental influences do play a role.
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
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.
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
I would help that individual find…
…find himself or herself.
Which way, if he needed the help?
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.
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?
I'm going to have to have a very short answer.
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.
Dr. Kameny, your witness. One more question.
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,
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.
One more question, Mr. 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
I'm not sure which question you're asking the witness . . . take his choice
as to which one he answers.
Are homosexual marriages subject to the laws against incest, and if so,
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?
Thank you very much.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to The Advocates, Dr. Smith.
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.
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.
Well, would you tell us, then, please, what duty does the law have to
protect and encourage this unique institution, the heterosexual
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.
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?
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.
What effects would flow if marriage concepts were to be extended to and
engrafted full-blown on the homosexual relationship?
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.
Well, would this be discrimination? Is this a denial of civil rights? Is the
homosexual the new Negro?
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.
Dr. Kameny, I'm going to give you a chance to get at this witness. Thank you
very much, Mr. Simon.
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
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.
Do you seriously expect mass defections from heterosexual marriages if
homosexuals are allowed to marry? Is heterosexuality really so
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
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?
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.
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?
Let the witness answer, please. Go ahead.
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 . .
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?
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.
We have time for one more question. Dr. Kameny. With a short answer,
All homosexuals come from heterosexual families, do they not?
And are you going to assume that homosexual families are going to produce
homosexuals necessarily and not heterosexuals?
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
Dr. Kameny, one more question from Mr. 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?
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 . . .
I have time for just one very brief question from Dr. 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?
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.
Thank you very much for being on The Advocates. Mr. Simon, your next
witness, please. Mr. Simon, your next witness.
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?
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
Dr. Socarides, do you believe that the legalization of the homosexual union
would aid the homosexual or would add to his instability?
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
And marriage of course would prevent the changing of partners.
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
Well now, are these your reasons for refusing marriage to the
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.
Well, what effect would the marriage of homosexuals have on youth and
children in our society?
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.
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.
Dr. Socarides, until 1942 your profession listed masturbation as a mental
illness. Is that not true?
Yes or no. Dr. Socarides.
. . . compulsive masturbation is still a form of psychiatric disorder,
although it is not listed in the DSM-II.
So you have your own . . .
Yes, because it is a form, it is a form, yes.
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?
I'm not familiar with that, but perhaps you're right.
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
Mr. Kameny, the poll, I'm afraid, is a fraud because . . .
Losers in polls always say that. Dr. 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
That is factually untrue.
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.
You won't. Is it not true that there are many homosexuals who do not seek a
variety of partners?
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
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?
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
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,
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."
Doctor, we have time for just one brief question with a brief
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 . . .
I didn't say they were stable.
You assigned a variety of economic . . .
I didn't say they were stable.
. . . 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.
I'm sure there have been those too, but there are also the other
Those are the only ones who have so far come forward.
Thank you very much. Dr. Kameny. Mr. Simon, another question.
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?
No, I certainly do not.
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?
Brief answer, please.
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.
Time for one brief question from Dr. 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?
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 . . .
Dr. Socarides, I'm going to have . . .
…to ask for civil rights.
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.
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.
Thank you, Mr. Simon. Dr. Kameny, your summary, please.
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
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
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.
Next week The Advocates
will be originating from the Pacific Stock Exchange in Los Angeles, and
let's take a look ahead to that program. (Promotional Message)
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.
The Advocates as a program takes no position on the issues debated tonight.
Our job is to help you understand both sides more clearly.