Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gay rights and the church

Your humble Devil feels that he should clarify his position on this gay adoption shit; in a move that will no doubt enrage people such as bookdrunk, I am with the Catholic Church on this one. And, believe me, I never thought that I would write that sentence.

Regular readers will know very well that I am a confirmed atheist and that I think that religion is stupid. However, I think that there are more ridiculous and dangerous views out there (scientology and socialism, for instance) and so I must accept that many people are very, very fucking stupid. However, I am also a libertarian and this issue is very simple for a libertarian.
The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties policy institute, today issues the following statement on the legitimacy of anti-discrimination laws. This statement is prompted by the continuing debate over the Equality Act 2006, which allows the British Government to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Libertarian Alliance Director, Dr Sean Gabb, says:

"Every person has the right to life and justly-acquired property, and to do with his own whatever does not infringe the equal rights of others.

"From this primary right can be derived all the rights of the liberal tradition - freedom of expression and contract and association, together with security against oppressive or arbitrary behaviour by the State.

"It does not generate any right not to be hated or despised or shunned.

"It does not justify laws against discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion or sexual orientation, or laws against expressing or inciting hatred against any group.

"If someone chooses, for whatever reason, not to employ homosexuals because of their homosexuality - or not to rent property to them, or not to provide other paid services to them - that is his right within the liberal tradition. By such behaviour, he is not committing any aggression against others. He is merely exercising his right NOT to associate or NOT to contract. No one who is thereby refused suffers any harm that is, within the liberal tradition, to be considered actionable.

"The same reasoning fully applies to discrimination on the other grounds of race, sex and religion.

"By forcing people to associate with or contract with persons whom they would otherwise reject, anti-discrimination laws are an attack on life and property. They are a form of coerced association. They give some people uncompensated claims on others. They amount to a form of slavery mediated by the State.

"Politically correct authoritarians like to hail each new set of anti-discrimination laws as an extension of human rights. Such laws are in fact violations of the only human rights that mean anything.

If Catholics agencies do not want to place children with gay parents, then that is absolutely fine because they are not the sole provider of adoption services.

If people do not like the Church's attitude on this, then they can stop placing the children with Catholic adoption agencies. It really is that simple.

It's called "freedom", you see; some of you may have forgotten what that is, but it involves personal choice and not state coercion.

UPDATE: bookdrunk has a reply that is almost disappointingly measured...
For one, while Catholic adoption agencies might not be the sole provider of that service, they are being paid with public money for whatever service they do provide. The argument that "if people do not like the Church's attitude on this, then they can stop placing the children with Catholic adoption agencies" only applies when individuals are directly involved in placing their child up for adoption. In the majority of cases, the state performs that role and makes decisions on our behalf concerning the welfare of children who do not have families that can support them. It's certainly not a simple question of personal preference.

I apologise for my lack of understanding as to how the adoption system works, but if the state does not support anti-gay sentiments then maybe there might be room for other people to start non-discriminatory adoption agencies with whom the state could place children instead? Part of the problem, though, is that it is very difficult to set up anything that deals with children as there are so many intrusive and constricting regulations (whether you think that these regulations are necessary or whether they actually do the job that they are supposed to is a debate for another day).

The point here is that if there is no difference between a gay couple and a heterosexual couple in terms of the child's benefit, which is what the anti-discrimination law is saying, then we—those of us who are not religious loons—should not worry about whether those who adopt said child are gay or not.

But the law has not been made for the child's benefit, it has been made for the benefit of homosexuals who want to adopt. Therefore, if homosexuals wish to adopt a child, they should go to a non-Catholic agency.

I still fail to see the problem here.

UPDATE 2: having said all that, bookdrunk's point about "1 penis good, 2 penis bad", which I raised on 18DS the other night, is a load of lunacy.
Yes, the Catholic Church is actually in favour of gay single parent families: one penis good, two penis bad. And then there's the awesome threat of multiple vaginas - nunneries have never seemed more like unexploded ordinance.

Which is why I'll defend the Catholic church's right to make certain decisions, but I won't necessarily support the Church or those decisions per se.


Englishman Abroad said...

At least it's not just me.

Somewhere the is a major failure to understand the definition of the word 'tolerance'. It is not the same thing as 'acceptance' - and a million miles from state enforced approval.

Keep up the good work, sir.

Neal Asher said...

PC left totalitarianism. There was that guy running a b&b in Scotland who refused to allow gays in his place. He is being hauled over the coals. Not a word would have been said had his policy been 'gays only'. Just like a black police officer's association is fine, but try starting up a white one...

Mr Eugenides said...

When are the government going to force Sheila's Wheels to give me cheap car insurance?

Anonymous said...

What I'm trying to get to the bottom of is this - I understand saying that where public money is used then the state has a 'right' to inteference. They can, if you like, dictate policy, even in supposedly independent organisations if they are paying the bills. But what I can't see from anyone making this argument is the flip side that says a privately run, funded and maintained organisation can act in a way it's stakeholders/contributors deem just, even if that is contrary to the behaviour and rule of state sponsored institutions. Surely if the Catholic adoption agencies want to make their own rules they should stop taking money from HMG and say our money our rules. Trying to take public funds and claim independence is idiocy, but Government dictating behaviour to truly independent organisations would be a lot easier to defend against.

Trixy said...

Mr E: you're not going to get it. Some of us fought hard for that exemption....

Peter said...

I agree more or less entirely with original post. The catholic church is utterly wrong in opposing gay adoption - but the government is a lot more wrong in legislating about a matter of conscience.

Kit said...

Matthew Paris used the same "paid with public money" argument on Question Time last week. The argument dose not wash with me. Up until now the state has been paying the Church for its services. The state has effectively decided to re-write the contract between them without consent.
I hope the Catholic Church stops taking the governments shilling.

Trixy said...

And anyway, two penises would hurt. Ouch. Blow up rubber rings all round.

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...