Politics & Policy

Unnatural Alliance

Abortion and gay-marriage advocates share a basic goal.

The Human Rights Campaign recently named Joe Solmonese as their new president. Solmonese moves from his position as CEO of Emily’s List–a political-action committee aimed at electing women abortion advocates to public office–to HRC, the largest homosexual-rights interest group. Meanwhile, homosexual Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson has announced his support for Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in the U.S. Both of these are emblematic of an interesting phenomenon in the cultural battle defining American politics today: Homosexual interest groups often form a significant part of the coalition supporting abortion rights. Why is a population that by definition does not procreate heavily involved in the “right” to end a pregnancy?

One might argue that this is simply what defines a liberal. A liberal defends the power of an individual to do as he or she pleases. While this is selectively true (where is the liberal movement to defend the rights of an individual to pray in the public square, or for parents to send their children to the school of their choice?), it’s not quite specific enough. At any large event in support of abortion rights, rainbow flags and other symbols of the homosexual culture are prominent. Homosexual groups frequently advertise pro-abortion events on their websites and publications, and abortion groups often support activities promoting homosexual causes. The two groups clearly overlap. Why is this?

On the surface it is an unlikely coalition, but upon closer examination there is common ground. While the two groups are very different in their particular circumstances, the common denominator between the two agendas is sexual license. Homosexuals are often strong advocates of abortion not because they need access to it but because homosexual activists are driven by the same philosophy that drives abortion rights: sex without restrictions or consequences. The two groups share the same foundation and it is in an effort to fortify this foundation that the two are committed to each other.

The homosexual is provided “rights” to marry, etc. to the degree that society accepts the idea that there are no consequences of a sexual relationship beyond what the individual chooses. The abortion proponent sees an unwanted pregnancy as an imposition on the woman’s (and man’s) right to sex without consequences. Sex becomes merely a matter of personal choice and expression, without consideration for its natural purpose of procreation. In this philosophy the homosexual activist and the advocate of abortion share the same starting point, and while they lead to different modes of existence, the philosophical foundation is the same.

This is why the cultural battle in defense of traditional marriage is largely the same battle waged to protect the innocent life of the unborn child. Marriage defined as a contract between one man and one woman, or the recognition of the rights of the unborn child, naturally flow from a sense that sex is something more than an act of personal gratification. Sex provides physical pleasure but it also is a profound gift to the individual that comes with responsibility. Sex does have consequences that place some restrictions on sexual activity. The restrictions, however, are not limiting but rather put sex within a context that is natural and healthy for both the individual and society. Without this foundation of human sexuality, sex becomes nothing other than the pursuit of personal gratification.

It is critical to recognize the ideology of absolute sexual license that drives and unites abortion and same-sex-marriage advocates. They form a strong coalition that has reshaped the political landscape. It is, consequently, necessary to fight the two fronts of the cultural battle (the dignity of life and the definition of marriage) with the same reaffirmation of the dignity and responsibility of sex. Sex is a great good, but its consequences and procreative purpose cannot be ignored if it is to remain so.

Jayd Henricks is director of congressional relations at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC.

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