I may or may not blog again on the case of Kevin Jennings. I do have another post in my mind, but it’s basically just an expansion on a point I made in my last post on the topic.
I hope the readers who brought up the issue of “gray areas” in this case appreciate that I did indeed acknowledge those areas (perhaps implicitly) in the very post to which they attached their comments. For I grant that, in this case, there are indeed gray areas (on the part of Jennings but not “Brewster’s” lavatory lover). But, there aren’t always gray areas.
But, it seems sometimes that all too many of our fellow gays (and a large number of straights, particularly men) have decided to replace the Manichean division of sexual expression (“good” when inside marital bonds, otherwise, “bad”) with the notion (to borrow a line from the movie Saved!) that “it’s all a gray area.” No, it’s not.
It is wrong for a man (or woman) to have sexual relations with a minor. It is wrong for a married man or woman to cheat on his spouse. It is wrong to promise fidelity to your boyfriend (or girlfriend) while carrying on with someone else. And there are other things, many involving coercion, which are clearly wrong.
That said, the older I get, the more I realize how amazingly complicated our sexual expression is (and the more, many more, gray areas I find). I still remain convinced that the highest form of sexual expression is between the two partners in a committed monogamous union. But, not all of us are so fortunate to find ourselves in such a state, hence the gray areas.
That said, I fear that all too many in the gay community echo that silly notion from Saved! that it’s all a gray area. This mentality suggests that, as we pull back from a narrow form of “acceptable” sexual expression which included all forms of same-sex physical intimacy, some are especially eager to reject not just those limitations preventing sexual relations outside the matrimonial union, but all limitations on sexual expression, throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water.
And it is unfortunate that today we have reduced discussions of such limitations to the rules of safe sex. We might better be able to make a convincing case for state recognition of gay marriage if we were able to talk about such limitations and the ends they serve. And to understand why it is that there are far fewer (far, far, far fewer) gray areas for married couples than there are for single individuals.
NB: I changed the title as the original made it seem the gray areas of sexual expression and marriage were one in the same–or similar, quite the opposite of my actual point.