Geoffrey Stone Responds to Anti-Gay Activist

Gay Rights? Now, I Get It!
Geoffrey Stone
Huffington Post
April 3, 2010

On April 3, I was one of several individuals who received the following email from Sharon Kass, an apparently well-known anti-gay rights activist:

Dear All:

You were all mentioned in the April 2 POLITICO article by Josh Gerstein regarding the replacement of Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court.

Whoever turns out to be the next justice, don't count on the matter of gay marriage to be settled. The Court has been wrong before.

The American people are learning that homosexuality and transgenderism are psychological disorders that are preventable and treatable. They are learning that there is no such thing as a "sexual minority." GayScam will go down in history as an unprecedented corruption of law, of government, and of the public mind.


Now, I generally don't respond to such emails, but this one intrigued me. So, I replied:

Dear Ms. Kass,

I'm curious about your views. Why do you feel so strongly about this? After all, lots of people adopt lifestyles and beliefs that others of us don't particularly approve of, but we don't use the law to compel them to change. People can choose to live as hermits, they can choose to believe in astrology, they can choose to be Socialists, they can choose not to marry, they can choose to skydive, they can choose to believe in witches and goblins, they can choose not to get treatment for physical or emotional disorders, and so on. The basic presumption of a free society is that people can make choices for themselves and the state should not interfere with those choices unless they are harmful to others or extremely harmful to themselves.

Read more at:

Geoffrey R. Stone


Marriage Rights for People with Phobias

Even if it were true that homosexuality is a psychological disorder (which I am inclined to doubt), it would not mean that the government should deny marriage rights. What about people with phobias or addictions? Can't phobias and addictions be treated and cured? If a person has a phobia of tall people and can therefore marry only a short or average-sized person, should the government deny that person the right to marry until she gets treatment? Do we really want the government denying basic rights based on psychological differences from some supposed norm? What if the government decides "homophobia" is a psychological disorder? Should Ms. Kass then be denied her basic rights? I think not.

Not impressed....

...with any of the commentary above which sounds like an exchange in a 1990s H.S. sociology class (where today students probably wouldn't even talk about sexual orientation as a choice). For the record, sexual orientation as a disorder was removed in part in the 70s and completely in the 80s from the American Psychological Association's diagnositic manual (DSM-IV). Nowadays the research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality and the longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.