What public good?

In a recent address, Senator Penny Wong asked,

“Why should the gay and lesbian community be merely ‘tolerated’ when the heterosexual community takes for granted ‘acceptance’ and recognition of their sexual preference as ‘the norm’?”

This is an instructive statement for a number of reasons. Firstly, it implies that the sexual organs of human beings do not point to any sort of behavior or conduct that could be regarded as normative. Secondly, it implies that the reproductive power of the sexual organs is in some way incidental to them. Thirdly, because it ignores what the sexual organs are obviously, but not solely for, it fails to recognize the obvious public good that inheres in sexual relations between men and women, when it is properly ordered in marriage, namely in the generation and education of children. The public good that arises from this, namely, successive generations of good citizens, is distinguishable from the private good the parents and children derive from such an arrangement. However, what public good is derived from recognizing sexual relations between the same sex? Relations that can never give rise to children. One can imagine the putative private good that may arise from legally recognizing such relations, but the public good that may arise from such relationships remains mysterious and yet needs to be addressed in order to justify its public recognition.

There are other matters that her recent address raised, that I’d like to address shortly, but this is enough for the moment.


  1. Deadman

    Notice also this deceptive modern terminology of “community” (such as the reputed “LGBT community”, “African-American community”, now Sen. Wong’s monolithic “heterosexual community” and, no doubt soon, the “disabled, left-handed lesbians who support bimetallism community”) as if all homophylophiles or black Americans, or whatever other group of people who share one aspect of similarity, also share a range of other similarities typical of a real community—a large social unit which shares many values and beliefs. I suspect that this modern usage is mischievously done in order to promote the fallacious notion that all members of the
    “LGBT community”, the “African-American community” and Sen. Wong’s “heterosexual community” are totally like-minded and unified so that addressing the concerns or wants of one member thereof addresses the concerns or wants of all and in order to foster the misleading impression that, for instance, the “LGBT community” is far larger as well as far more homogenous than it really is.

    1. dover_beach (Post author)

      Indeed, Deadman. It’s a political conjurer’s trick. The other mischievous aspect is that it attempts to separate actual historic communities into one’s that are abstract at best. No one ever imagined they were part of a ‘heterosexual’ community, living off the heteronormative privilege, as opposed to the place and/ or tradition of which they are actually a part.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *