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Gay Penguin Goes Straight (or Why Deriving Sexual Ethics from the Animal Kingdom is Risky)

In The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People, husband and wife team David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton, a behavioral scientist and psychiatrist respectively, attempt to dismantle previously held ideas concerning monogamy within the animal kingdom. The authors’ stated goal is in finding commonality of patterns that provide “powerful evidence that human beings are not ‘naturally’ monogamous, as well as proof that many animals, once thought to be monogamous, are not.” The book’s research is often cited as evidence that homosexual behavior amongst Homo Sapiens is quite normal and has become assigned reading in some human sexuality classes.

But using the animal kingdom to extrapolate or inform human sexual behavior has its downside. Case in point: San Fran’s gay penguin scandal. Try watching this video with a straight face.

So if gay penguins are “evidence that human beings are not ‘naturally’ monogamous,” is Harry’s hetero flip-flop proof that homosexuals can change their orientation? Those implications have not gone unnoticed by the gay community. From Matt Barber’s Gay Penguin Flies Straight:

But not everyone is celebrating Harry and Linda’s newfound love. Some believe there can be no such a thing as an “ex-gay” penguin. Upon news of Harry’s decision to fly the same-sex-coop, outspoken pro-homosexual activist and anti-ex-gay crusader Wayne Besen cried fowl:

“Attempts to change sexual orientation are patently offensive, discriminatory by definition, theologically shaky, uniformly unsuccessful and medically unsound!” exclaimed a visibly angry Besen. “There is no ‘ex-gay’ sexual orientation. Harry is simply in denial. He’s living what I call the ‘big lie.’”

Maybe its blowback from our over-reliance upon evolutionary theory, but basing our sexual ethics and proclivities upon the animal kingdom is risky. I mean, my dog is not just homosexual, he will get it on with anything that moves.  So does that justify promiscuity? Inter-species breeding maybe? Heck, has anyone done a study of pedophilia amongst raccoons, or incest amongst warthogs? Point is: If we’re looking for justification of certain lifestyle choices, the animal kingdom provides a plethora of florid options.

If the gay penguin controversy is any evidence, perhaps we’re better off looking somewhere other than to Cimba, Spot or Bonzo for enlightenment regarding our sexual conduct.

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