Why I think people saying that homosexuality is a natural impulse is a copout

I’ve been debating with myself for a while now on whether or not to post this. Not because I’m afraid of offending anyone – because I’m pretty sure I already have; but because it’s a bit personal. And I know lots of the people that read this blog. But I feel like I should make every effort I can to persuade anyone out there who is still undecided to vote in favor of Proposition 8, to preserve marriage between a man and a woman.

I’ve heard many opponents of Prop 8 use this argument: Homosexuality is a genetic impulse in many people; they were just “made that way” so why should we punish them by depriving them of the right to marry the one they love?

For starters, I don’t believe that outlawing gay marriage is depriving anyone of rights. Sorry, but you never had that right in the first place, until 4 of 7 judges decided to create a new law by overturning the vote of an overwhelming majority of Californians.

But here’s my main point: Even if we do accept the premise that at least some people are “naturally” gay – even though studies show that environment and upbringing do have a large impact on one’s sexuality – why does that make it a good thing? We have many natural impulses that are contradictory to the good of society, and we don’t legalize those behaviors just to cater to those individuals who have those impulses and act on them.

I’ll give you a few examples: A man “naturally” has a worse temper than other men. His anger management issues lead him to harm his family. Does he get out of trouble for his behavior and the harm he has done to those around him because he is genetically predisposed to be angry?

Some people are more likely to be overweight because of their genetic makeup. My brother is one of these. I am honestly afraid that he will die within the next ten years if he doesn’ drastically change his lifestyle. He is 31. Is it alright for him to just give up and say, I’m genetically predisposed to be obese, and everyone around me should just accept that fact? Should we all be content to watch him slowly die of his own self-neglect?

What about mothers who abuse drugs while they are pregnant and their babies are born with severe problems and drug addictions? Shouldn’t we help the baby fight the addiction rather than simply saying “it’s natural, so it’s ok”?

What about men whose inability to control themselves and their libido turns them into rapists, pedophiles, child abusers, and child pornography addicts? It’s natural for a man to have stronge sexual desires, isn’t it? But the way these men express their behaviors is harmful to society as a whole. Shouldn’t we punish them, even though sex drive is a completely natural human behavior?

And here’s the personal example I promised you: I have depression. It runs very strongly in my family on one side. I have struggled with it since I was about ten years old, I would guess, but I wasn’t diagnosed with it until I was in college. My life as a teenager was extremely difficult, and I never understood why I was so different until many years later. I am genetically predisposed to the condition because of my family heritage. It makes me sad, angry, anxious, and lethargic. Sometimes all at once. There are days when it is a struggle just for me to get out of bed.

But I do it. Why? Because I love my family more. I have two small daughters to take care of, and a husband I love dearly. I support him by taking care of our children and our home. If it were just me, there are probably days where I would lie in bed and do nothing at all except let myself be sad.

I can’t indulge in that type of behavior, even though I want to sometimes. First, I know it is bad for me. Second, I know it is bad for my family. Third, I know it is bad for society – I have something to contribute to my neigborhood, my church, my city, and my state. I am responsible for more than just myself. The natural impulses that come with depression are quite strong, but my love for my family is stronger. I know that if I give in to those impulses, I would be hurting my family.

So my depression is natural. It’s genetic. I can’t help it.

I am left with a choice: do I give into my natural impulses, or do I fight it and do what is best for those around me?

And just because I have this “natural” condition, would that make it right if I did lie in bed all day and neglect my children?

Obviously not. It would be understandable, but it still wouldn’t be right.

So stop complaining that homosexuality is natural and we need to make concessions for gay people. We all have things that we are fighting, our own internal demons, but we still have to be responsible members of society, concerned with the greater good before our own desires.