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.