Sunday, January 19, 2014

Iona Institute, Putin, the Definition of Homophobia

You are doubtless aware of accusations of homophobia against members of the Iona Institute and John Waters. We are no doubt as one in confusion and befuddlement at such a complex area, and are all relieved to see that the matter has now been passed to appropriate legal teams.

Our brains not being large enough to correctly interpret the term homophobia, perhaps we can instead contrast views of the Iona Institute with those of Vladimir Putin. First, I present their views on children having access to positive LGBTQ role models.

Won't Somebody Think Of The Children!
"“We do not have a ban on non-traditional sexual relationships... [w]e have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality... I want to underline this. Propaganda among children. These are absolutely different things – a ban on something or a ban on the propaganda of that thing." -Vladimir Putin

We can contrast this with the Iona Institute's campaigning in favour of Section 37, which permits religious organisations to discriminate against visible members of the LGBTQ community in matters of employment.

"Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act is frequently the target of criticism on the grounds that it permits religious employers to ‘discriminate’ against certain categories of persons, for example, those who are openly gay or lesbian.... We further believe that any withdrawal of this protection is both unconstitutional and an attack on the right of free profession and practice of religion.
In effect, this [granting LGBTQ citizens equal employment rights] would discriminate against the beliefs of parents and the ethos of the relevant religious organisation." - Iona Institute
 While obviously not making a decision on whether either are homophobic, we can say with some certainty that they have a strong preference for restricting openly LGBTQ folks from working with children.

Same Sex Parents

Putin recently signed a law banning the adoption of Russian orphans by same sex couples. He did this to obviate the risk of "dictated non-traditional sexual behaviour" and avoid "distresses of soul and stresses, which according to psychologists' research, are often experienced by children raised by same-sex parents".

Naturally, the "psychologists' research" mentioned is balderdash. Putin's administration has wilfully misrepresented scientific research to smear same sex parents in the hopes of lending some legitimacy to whatever motivates their opposition. (Sadly we do not have the resources required to divine if the motivation is homophobia.)

I cast my mind back to see if I could recall any member of the Iona Institute giving voice to concerns re same sex parents, and learn with surprise that they have done so on a number of occasions. In fact this quicksand forms the bedrock of their opposition to marriage equality.

"We show that demands for same-sex marriage inevitably cause us to lose sight of the ideal of having a loving mother and father and of the importance of the natural ties between parent and child...
The social sciences confirm what every known society in the world has known instinctively, namely that marriage between a man and a woman is uniquely beneficial to society and to children. repeat the point made above, the institution of marriage between a man and a woman has special standing because it is uniquely beneficial to children, all other things being equal...
Some of these consequences have already unfolded in other countries even before the introduction of same-sex marriage...
For example, in Britain Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close because they do not believe in adoption by same-sex couples." - Iona Institute

The Iona Institute find common ground with Putin once more in the field of misrepresentation of scientific research, a theme thoroughly explored by fellow blogger Humanisticas, and in the Irish Times by Dr David Robert Grimes, and Senator David Norris in the Seanad.

I end this post as perplexed as I started. What is homophobia? Could it be a deeply held worry that LGBTQ folks may someday freely live, work, and raise children without hiding their romantic or gender identities? Obviously I can't answer this question for legal reasons. But I'll happily say that the Iona Institute are not more homophobic than Vladimir Putin.


Unknown said...

For my sins, voluminous as they are, I went and had look. Rather than pasting the definition of homophobia, I thought I'd break it down in terms of meaning. 'Homo' being the prefix 'same'-we must be accurate and include 'sapiens'. We need to distinguish ourselves from the animals you see? - sapiens meaning 'wise man' & the you have phobia...generally, in clinical psychology terms-I kid you not, we're talking psychosis here, it's 'acute anxiety'. So, there you have it folks- homophobia means we get jumpy when we meet a knowledgeable person. Or as they say in ebonics... it's a load of bollocks.

Jon said...

Maybe it's just me, but "every known society in the world has known instinctively" has the same ring to it as "I believe in" and "I have faith in".

When will science ant rationality replace superstition and bigotry?

Anonymous said...

Derek McAsey.

Not sure if your post is tongue-in cheek or just misleading.

Homophobia is a synthetic term modelled after ones like arachnophobia (fear of spiders), but can't be simply defined by breaking into its components.

If anything it's a contraction of homosexual-phobia.

Homo sexual means "same sex" (as opposed to hetero sexual "different sex")

"Homo" as in the Latin "homo sapiens" is not the same as the Greek "homo" meaning "same".

Homo is just the Latin word for man (as opposed to animal rather than man as opposed to woman, which is "vir"). The Greek and Latin words look alike but are fundamentally different words.

(wiktionary "From Old Latin hemō, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰǵʰm̥mō (“earthling”)".

Homo sapiens (latin) is just a scientific term to distinguish modern humans from other hominids like homo erectus.

Unknown said...

Peter M.

I had thought it was clear my comment was tongue in cheek. The use of 'it's a load of bollocks' was an indicator. My choice of the Greek interpretation of 'Homo' was meant as a sly nod to the 'non-traditional' comments regarding homosexuality. The Greeks, historically at any rate,seeing it as entirely normal. This in turn also references a point Geoff made in a previous article on a similar topic. It might then be argued that if a society circa Byzantine, saw homosexuality as a natural act, then the comments around 'non-traditional', one might infer, is that hetero as a stand alone sexuality is entirely abnormal.
As an aside and as I write this, is there a case to be made for looking at the Religious influence. That being, both Greece and Russia have a long and deep involvement with Orthodox Christianity.

Just a thought.

JJ5000 said...

That sounds just as bad if not worse than Donald Rumsfeld's, "Therr are known knowns and there are unknown knowns..."

Unknown said...

Aha, tricky hitting a moving target I think you will find