I would like to thank Todd Carter for his cultural warning. I’m not talking about his declaration that same sex marriage is damaging. Carter has taught me, and hopefully others, that the logic that enabled scientific racism to be so popular in the past is a dangerous, misleading force that still exists in this age of information. While many of Carter’s facts are true, the reader is not given the whole story. Take, for instance, his statement that homosexuals are more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals.
Through his research, the famous sociologist Emile Durkheim proved that many suicides in societies such as ours resulted from too little social integration. Those individuals who were not sufficiently bound to social groups were left with little social support or guidance, and therefore tended to commit suicide on an increased basis. Durkheim’s primary example was that of unmarried people, particularly males, who, with less to bind and connect them to stable social norms and goals, committed suicide at higher rates than married people.
In addition to people with little social integration, oppressed groups have had a high rate of suicide throughout human history. Epidemics of suicide were frequent among Jews in medieval Europe who were often given a choice between converting to Christianity and death. Both Native Americans and black slaves in the New World committed mass suicide to escape brutal treatment.
If anything, history has proven that suicide is more the result of the intolerance of the dominant group than it is the shortcomings of the minority.
Carter’s troubling statistics should not be viewed as reason to further divide heterosexuals and homosexuals but rather to motivate people to understand and accept others for who they are. The actual union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender, does not harm society. The harm is the result of hatred from outside forces. The harmful behaviors Mr. Carter described can be overcome with friendship and support, not condemnation and ignorance.