Essay title: Gay Marriage
“The Closet Straight”
Homosexuality is a highly controversial subject in today’s society, in which some oppose it and others’ lives are consumed by it. Hadley Arkes, born in 1944, is a professor of law at Amherst College and is the author of the essay, “The Closet Straight,” which argues the homosexual views of homosexual writer, Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan has been the editor of New Republic since 1991; he has a Bachelor’s degree from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Arkes’ argument discusses his opinion and disagreement of homosexual marriage and opposes the characteristics of homosexuality in his essay, “The Politics of Homosexuality.” Arkes’ misuse of facts from his essay leads to his insufficient claims of Sullivan’s explanation of homosexuality and why homosexual marriage should become permissible.
Arkes claims that Sullivan’s views of homosexuality are not ‘natural’ simply by generalizing upon the mixed record of our species: by that reckoning, incest and genocide would be an accord with natural law…”; however, homosexuality is a person’s sexual orientation and a matter of preference of which they are attracted. Being as it may, a person who is attracted to a relative can also be considered natural. Sexual attraction is a natural feeling one possesses for another person, regardless of race, sex, or
relation. One can certainly disagree with the morality of a sexual attraction, but not that the attraction is unnatural. In Sullivan’s essay he states, “The number who say their
orientation is a choice make up only a tiny minority, and the candor of those who say it isnt is overwhelming” (Quoted In Sullivan p 501). He also says, “To be sure, it is in the interests of gay people to affirm their lack of choice over the matter…” (Quoted In Sullivan p 554).
Arkes asserts that gays and lesbians need the opinions of others to feel comfortable about themselves, but he misinterpreted Sullivan’s position on the discrimination of blacks, in which he means, differ from the discrimination of gays. Sullivan expresses in “The Politics of Homosexuals,” “Race is always visible; sexuality can be hidden. Race is in no way behavioral; sexuality, though distinct from sexual activity, is profoundly linked to a settled pattern of behavior.” Arkes argued that Sullivan supposed gays and lesbians set themselves up to be “vulnerable and weak” (Quoted In Sullivan p 601) when “they call to their aid the levers of the law” (Sullivan). Sullivan’s point is that homosexuals experience difficulty with others’ views of their sexuality, but do not approval to live their lives.
A large portion of Arkes’ essay, “The Closet Straight,” involved his opinions and disagreement with homosexual marriage. Arkes continually assumes that Sullivan “must need marriage” however, Sullivan speaks mainly of the general homosexual population in his essay. Sullivan states, “The marriages of others [heterosexuals] are a moment for celebration and self-affirmation; they are the way in which our families and friends reinforce us as human beings” (Quoted In Sullivan p 521). He understands the religious importance of marriage and its reasons for keeping it sacred, but he explains the
significance of what a united bond between homosexuals, means. Homosexuals endure emotional and psychological damage when society repeatedly uses euphemisms, such as,
“friend” or “partner” because it is a ploy to pretend gays and lesbians do not need marriage (Sullivan).
Berzon questions the preservation of traditional marriage if homosexual marriages