Dr. Robert Gagnon has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Masters from the Harvard Divinity School.
Robles: I mean, I kind of like the idea where, you know, you do what you want, that’s your business, but don’t ask me to accept it and don’t put it in my face. Is there any way they can be integrated into society and somehow accepted?
Gagnon: Well, not really. Once you get it put into the legal system. Once you say sexual orientation is a civil rights category, then you are pretty much down the road, where it is going to be hoisted on everybody, because then the state has essentially taken a decision on this question and made its choice to say that anyone who opposes such unions or anyone who finds such unions offensive is essentially a bigot and will be prosecuted accordingly.
So, if they don’t provide the goods and services, again in Canada… They had somebody who had a copying place, in Canada, and he did not want to copy literature for promoting a homosexual, I think it was like a sex party, it was virtually an orgy, homosexual sex orgy. And he recommended: “Go down the street there are other copiers you could find there”, and the persons would have certainly had access to, but they sued him, as a result of sexual orientation law in Canada. And he subsequently had to pay over $10,000 in his own legal fees and their fees. I think they might have fined him $10,000 plus his own fees, plus he had to pay the fees of those who were suing him.
And a counselor, a teacher, in the British Columbia School System, as a private citizen, wrote a letter to a newspaper when they were having a gay pride celebration: saying that he didn’t think it was something they should be celebrating because of some of the medical consequences of homosexual behavior. He was immediately suspended without pay and then it went all the way up to the British Columbia Supreme Court. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that if you are in a white collar position, and if you even say anything that can be considered discriminatory, by the legal system of the state, then it is perfectly ok if your employer were to terminate you, even if the action does not come in the context of your employment.
Gagnon: So, Big Brother reaches out. I mean this is what it is coming down to. It is Orwellian, essentially.
Robles: Really. What would your solution be, I mean to: dealing with homosexuals and their behavior in society?
Gagnon: My solution will be the same way that we basically view promiscuous behavior, or persons who want to have non-promiscuous unions consisting of three or more persons concurrently. Really, nothing is being done about that. But we are not going to grant state licenses for it, we are not going to provide state endorsement of the behavior, we are not going to subsidize it in any way, and we are not going to persecute anyone who is opposed to it, and it can be taken into consideration in certain employment situations.
If you are employed at a certain responsible white collar position, and let’s say you are the face of the company in effect, and it is known that you are in a sexual relationship with your mother, consensual relationship, or with three other persons concurrently, this reflects on the corporation and that can be taken into consideration. As it is now though, it is in the reverse.
I have friends for example who are in the banking system, who are high up in particular bank companies, and now they have, in those companies, affirmative action policies for those who describe themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, or transgender, so that the company actually now gives incentives for hiring persons who act out in that way. And it puts a person, like my friends, in a difficult position because if they don’t go along with the affirmative action policies for this, then their own jobs become in jeopardy.
So, now we are at a point where in the corporate world, in many corporations if you don’t actually promote homosexual behavior, if you don’t actually give greater benefits to those engaged in homosexual practice, as you would to those engaged in a normal heterosexual union or marriage, then you are going to have your job put in jeopardy.
A kind of absurd! It is not even now an equal playing field where those in homosexual unions get the same kind of benefits as those in heterosexual unions, but they actually get affirmative action programs, because they are now viewed as “quote-unquote” sexual minorities.
The state really should say: “Look, we are not going to approve it, we are not going to prosecute for your homosexual relationships, like the former sodomy laws that were in place. But we are not going to also approve it. That’s the position that the US was in about ten years ago, but we are way passed that now.
Robles: Why has that happened, I mean is it because the gay lobby has so much money, or they are powerful? Why is that?
Gagnon: That is a big part of it. For example, those who run Amazon.com are major supporters of homosexual rights issues (so called). Bill Gates has been a major supporter of it, and on and on goes the list of billionaires and millionaires who have expended enormous amount of money. Some of them expended enormous amount of money to support candidates who identify as gay or lesbian, or supporting of gay or lesbian causes and to get rid of congressmen and senators who were not. And a lot of good Christians who should have spoken up about issues like this and should have made it an issue of voting concern, have decided to relinquish that responsibility.
Robles: And why is that? I mean, why couldn’t the church come out stronger?
Gagnon: Many people within the church are fearful of being labeled a bigot. So, they hide in closets themselves. And there is usually a price to pay. For example, I came out with a book on Bible and homosexual practice just before I came up for tenure, I teach at a Presbyterian Church USA Seminary. Even thought the position that I was upholding at that time, (It’s a 500 page book, very well reviewed by biblical scholars and theologians and church historians around the world. I got blurbs from about 30 different people, top-notch scholars), but even so it made it a very difficult attempt for me to get tenure at my institution, even though at the time I was basically supporting the official position of the Presbyterian Church USA because; it is a sort of take-no-prisoner-kind-of-approach.
Those who claim to be tolerant on this issue are very often highly intolerant on this and their view of tolerance is that: we are tolerant about those who support homosexual unions, those who don’t we have to get rid of.
So, that kind of thing that people have experienced in the workplace, in society generally, and certainly in educational systems, certainly in all the media outlets, certainly in Hollywood: if you indicate that you are not absolutely, 100% supportive now of gay marriage, you are likely going to lose your job.
Robles: That’s everywhere in the United States now?
Gagnon: Not everywhere, but in particular places more so, than in others. Again in the entertainment industry, the media industry, educational institutions…
Robles: Exactly gay marriage, you have to support gay marriage, not just gays?
Gagnon: Yes, that’s right! It is not good enough anymore that you are only for civil unions. You got to be completely for gay marriage, otherwise you are a bigot.
Robles: I mean I can say I’m ok with homosexuals, they can do whatever they want but I’m against…
Gagnon: It is not good enough anymore. It is not that way everywhere, but it is certainly that way in many avant-garde institutions of the United States right now. And it is only going to get more so that way with Obama’s statement about gay marriage. Obama has been long for gay marriage, even before he was elected as president. He basically made equivalent opposition to gay marriage with miscegenation laws in the south in the 1950s and early 1960s. So, that tells you where he is on the issue. And when you think about persons who were supportive of miscegenation laws in the US…
Robles: I’m sorry, can you explain (for our listeners) that term?
Gagnon: Yes, miscegenation laws are laws that were passed in the South before the Civil Rights Legislation, of the mid and late 1960s in the United States, which forbade marriage across races. So, an African-American could not marry a white person, for example. Now, I myself, I’m married to a Jamaican woman who is mostly of African descent. So, for me to hear this equation that somebody like Obama did, between those who oppose homosexual practice and those who oppose interracial marriages, I mean this is the height of offensiveness, this is absurdity.
Race is a benign characteristic, it doesn’t lead somebody to do things that are inconsistent with their embodied existence as a male and female. To compare race with an innate urge (sexual urge) to unite with somebody who is not a true sexual complement, well this is absurd.
But when you have a President making those kinds of connections and essentially equating anyone who does not support gay marriage with persons who support miscegenation laws, then you are going to get this kind of vitriolic reaction in society now, to those who don’t support gay marriage.