The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 2 of 2)
Well just like you have just written to a panel which from the Guardian in the studios of KPFA a few months ago and with death I think that we can now just go straight into our first question which we'll address till Dr. Bowman to give us some of the historical background of the legal practices regarding homosexuality.
Our present laws in the United States with regard to sex behavior are largely traced back to the very ancient Hebrew laws and particularly the laws about homosexuality in the Christian religion took over pretty much the Jewish code which was extremely restrictive regarding sex behavior. The English law was the basis of most of the laws in the United States. And therefore to a very considerable extent our sex laws in the various states with some exceptions go back through the English code to the Christian code. Taken from the ancient Jewish law and therefore. My contention is B-M that if this is true it is time to re-examine again.
But these laws are and what that in the light of our present knowledge about all types of sex behavior and including homosexuality which is I understand a special topic we're discussing here today is whether we should or should not recommend modifications.
I suppose it would be relevant to have some more detail definition of what the law regards as homosexual activity.
Perhaps Dr. Beach you could.
Yes I was interested in listening to this tape of course and I was just a little bit worried because nobody took the time to define what was meant by the central term.
This becomes rather important it seems to me when we get talking in terms of statistics as Mr. call did I recall that he mentioned a figure that one in ten of human beings of being homosexual.
This doesn't really mean anything unless he tells us In addition what he means by homosexuality. The psychiatric concept of latent homosexuality might be mentioned here. This refers as I understand it to an individual male or female who has certain homosexual tendencies that never come to expression in overt behavior. Then we have the situation stressed by Dr Kinsey the individual who has one or two overt homosexual experiences in his or her entire life. Are we to call such a person homosexual or not. It's a question and we have also individuals who are both homo and heterosexual active and who derive satisfaction from either type of tape. And finally and I suspect that this is the sort of individual that we're really talking about. We have a exclusively homosexual individual who engages in overt activity.
Well why does the luff then regarding these definitions and the Dr Bowman contingent.
Well theoretically the law only concerned is only concerned with the behavior of the individual and therefore in any overt homosexual behavior that may be carried out. I would point out however that there has been no experience in the armed forces.
Considering a person with a diagnosis even of latent homosexuality as unsuitable to remain in the armed forces and perhaps receiving an undesirable type of discharge which deprives him for all the benefits of an honorable discharge and perhaps may interfere seriously with his securing a position. And here you would have this peculiar analogy to me at least.
Or situation of where an individual who has never violated any law or committed any overt on the sexual act nevertheless is labeled a homosexual and discharged on that basis. Now that the diagnosis of homosexuality agree is with the actual dictionary term and the one quoted by the Wolfenden Report of the British committee on home the Sexual Offenses and prostitution. But according to the dictionary homosexuality is a sexual pro Pa. for persons of its own sex Amdo. So you get this question them. Are we even going to get into the area of thought control. As far as sexual attitudes are concerned and not merely to divert behavior.
Well Does not this particular legal definition which includes propensity as well as activity leave itself open to some pretty difficult situation from a legal standpoint. I believe that if there is some sort of abuse of the law in this state for example where a person who is running a place of entertainment or something can come into conflict with the law simply because that place is repeatedly used as a place of gathering by people who are homosexual. Would you like to comment on that too.
Yes back in 1950 a court decision. It was tested and a decision was rendered by the California Supreme Court in 1051 which posed this question. Can a bar restaurants which cater to homosexuals but where they did nothing but just meat and congregate dare to eat and drink for have have its life its license jeopardised simply because they permitted them to meet there. A hearing officer of the old Board of Equalization rule that since homosexuals congregated and met as a meeting place in the Black Cat restaurant in San Francisco that the license could be revoked. The Supreme Court of California held for the first time that homosexuals as any other type of citizen had a civil right to congregate and to meet for social purposes for eating and drinking purposes in any place of public amusement. That would include would include a theater include a restaurant and the like. This was a quite an advance in the sense that up until that time the question of civil rights of this type of sexual minority we can use that expression had never been tested in the courts of this state or for that matter in the United States. However in direct answer to your question the issue that was posed there was this that a bartender or restaurant owner cannot at his own risk determine that a person has homosexual tendencies.
Let's just going to ask you how is the proprietor supposed to establish this.
That is exactly the point that we argued I have to be the attorney for the licensee there to the Supreme Court that you could determine the bartender could not the attorney general at case took the opposite position and there have been some court decisions which have assumed otherwise that homosexuals have certain bodily of physical characteristics or tone of voice and the like that make them easily identifiable. And it might interest you to know that we used extensively quotations from Kinsey's reports in our briefs to the Supreme Court all the Supreme Court doesn't mention that fact in his decision I'm sure if it was of great help in arriving at the result we pointed out that Kinsey studies revealed and reflected that there are. Physically going up find characteristics of such common significance that persons can say this person or that person does or does not have homosexual tendencies. However since that decision of the California Supreme Court in one thousand fifty one The whole issue has been reopened by a statute passed by our own California legislature 955 under the guise of a law which permits licensed says of bars to be revoked if the place is found to be a quote resort for sexual perverts end of quote. This language is very vague and there's been attempts by the attorney general of California to interpret that law so that if any place is a meeting place for homosexuals that is sufficient to revoke the license they're trying to overturn the decision of the California Supreme Court in 1051 and we have the issue again before us.
Well I think that that raises two questions which I think really both should be handled. Perhaps we could take a biological one first and then I would like to go on to the question. If you were going to ban homosexuals from for gathering on the basis of which whether you think they are homosexual or not what is to stop you from banning anybody else that you think is anything else that somebody might not like but perhaps Dr. Beach you could take the biological question.
Yes. Well Dr. Baker in the preceding.
The tape mentioned the fact that there have been theories of your homosexuality which referred this type of behavior to some sort of glandular disorder. In my opinion this is highly doubtful. Nevertheless the fact that biological factors are involved seems to me to be beyond dispute. I hope I'll have care to develop that because I don't want to leave the impression that I'm saying that homosexuality per se is inherited. Nevertheless Dr friend's column has done a number of genetic studies on human homosexuals has cited some evidence to indicate that hereditary factors may be involved. For example the incidence of homosexuality as I recall the literature is higher in models like Gothic twins and tentacle twins than it is in the population in general. Mr. cawl pointed out that so far as we know homosexuality has been present throughout human history and this would suggests a very pervasive source of influence.
Certainly we might.
Pose the question as to whether or not homosexuality is part of man's heredity part of the human species heredity the evolutionary evidence that is the evidence based upon observations of other mammals. I suggest that this may be the case. Certainly homo sexual activities are seen in a wide variety of mammals and I don't mean just domesticated or captive animals it occurs also in the state of nature. However so far as I am aware exclusive over homosexuality does not occur in any species except man. I believe that this is probably due to the fact that human sexual behavior like all other kinds of human behavior is very heavily influenced by individual experience and learning much more so than the behavior of any other species that we know anything about. This can be documented for example by reference to cases where the biological sex of a human child has been incorrectly identified at the time of birth. Some individuals as you probably know are born with the genital anatomy of the opposite sex or at least gentle Lammy which is not clearly identifiable as masculine or feminine in some instances. Children of this sort have been identified as boys or girls and later on it has been discovered as a result. Usually as a result surgery or as a result of chromosome a good education that the sect was incorrectly identified. Now the interesting thing is that if this is found out early enough the sex can be reversed. That is the child can be sex typed can be convinced that he or she is of this or that sex but if the child has already Sex Type himself or herself if in her or his mind she or he is a girl or a boy then it raises great psychological difficulty to reverse the sex of the child identify himself as one sex or the other and start to adopt the sex attitudes involved. And these are very hard to reverse much harder to reverse in the biological sex.
I think that sitting next to me interesting comment Dr. Whelan Why do you commend what opinion have you got in the heredity vs. environmental factors in the creation of homosexuality.
Well I think Professor Beach gave centrally the ideas that I also hold and I would not have much to add I would say that it seems to me as we see homosexuality in human beings.
There may be and frequently are multiple causes. And that as he suggested heredity is often a factor. The physical conditions of which we don't know too much yet are factors and there's no question but the psychological conditioning experiences like ways may play an important role.
But one can only wonder what would happen to any person brought up in a society which had a very different attitude as to what was proper and improper sex behavior to them. What we have in our own country and how likely it will be that any of us confronted with this other culture would have fitted into it without too much trouble.
Well that's certainly true on the heterosexual level there have been as many things that were right and as many things as were wrong as the possible combinations of well practically in human history and dead in the in some of the glory cultures homosexuality I believe has been pretty widely accepted in the public attitude has been fairly permissive in that regard is that not true.
You don't have to limit it to the ancient cultures and get it. More or less accepted many cultures at the present time.
And Dr. Wilson we haven't heard from you yet and I believe that you function on two levels in this discussion. One as an attorney and also as a psychiatrist. Have you something to do.
Yes I felt left out of the discussion because I couldn't take sides either way here. But I think I can add something to this that hasn't been brought out I think it's implicit but to me the real crux of the matter is that we are speaking of the laws of homosexuality and it must be understood that a law passed in making something a crime has to have two factors the individual behavior and then the prohibition by society it takes in both you cannot have a crime and act considered a crime in a vacuum unless society passes the law making it so it is not a crime even though it may be abnormal and destructive as a result. There really are universal crimes even such things as we think is obviously is murder or robbery are not necessarily a crime in all cultures certain cultures handle is on an individual basis let the victim take care of it decide it takes no part in it so it's not universal. Even something that we consider as a natural crime as such. In the matter of sex laws it's the same thing. Society passes these laws because they feel threatened. They feel that the homosexual act is a threat to their society and they pass a law to try to curb this threat. From my standpoint the obvious result is that it doesn't work.
Passing a law in no way affects the amount of homosexuality and the effect or the amount of homo sexual behavior. Furthermore it doesn't affect the actual amount of homosexuality as such. Over and above the act. Remember that the law is passed against the act not against the existence of homosexuality with the exceptions as Dr. Bowen mention of the military service. And as Mr. ILO and all mention and certain acts of association were mere homosexuality itself can be punished. You know if the law doesn't work then we should carefully reappraise a situation and see what to do about it. Passing more stringent laws doesn't seem to affect it. Taking the laws off seems to make no difference. There certainly isn't a basic bio psychological factor involved that makes homosexuals with or without laws. The laws aren't going to change this and consequently my feeling is that the law should be re-evaluated and the situation handled in a logical way based on the realities of the situation. For example there is no question in my mind and I think in anyone's mind that heredity or constitution plays a part in the fact there must be that potential there. If you have a person with one arm he cannot be a left or right handed because he doesn't have the other arm he has just one handed. Unless you have this potential of bisexuality you could not be homosexual. So there is no question the propensity is there and I think there is no question that it varies in the individual. Same time since you have potentials. People end up as adults either heterosexual homosexuals or both to varying degrees and this can be explained again only on the experiences the development the interaction of the person with his culture.
So since both factors are involved and since you cannot change the basic individual factors you're going to pass a law. You're going to have to pass it to change its development. Now to do that you're going to have to know exactly why people become homosexual and we don't. If we did we might well pass a law which could literally curb homosexuality. We can't now the next thing that I think is the real crux of the matter.
Do we have the obligation or duty socially to pass such a great or is it really more about just a moment to ask.
Has anyone any ideas on the subject as to why society feels threatened you used the phrase that the laws were based on the fact that society felt threatened by the existence of homosexuality. Now what. Credence on what basis in fact is there for that feeling of fear and threat.
In my opinion and it's only an opinion although it's shared by others society it passes these laws because the individual members feel threatened by the concept of homosexuality. Why they do this is of course another matter and you can theorize further. The present I think most logical theory is that there is some unconscious unknown fear of homosexuality in everyone and this fear is transmitted to the social group and as a result they pass a law on it on the basis that their individual fear of it is not a logical theory because homosexuality itself is not dangerous nor destructive. And other than the social attitude it is really no way derogatory. So there is no real logical basis for the attitude it's certainly a general almost universal attitude.
We didn't like to speak to that point.
Is there anything to the story that I have heard that. The original ban against homosexuality which goes back to the Judaic tradition had its origin in the fact that at one time after the Jews left Egypt they felt that it was necessary for their survival that they discourage any acts it did not lead to procreation and more children and increase in population as a small group they couldn't survive as a larger group they could whereas in the time of the Greeks for example they had a situation of overpopulation and therefore they encouraged homosexuality for the opposite reason to discourage increasing population. That has been advanced as one of the original explanations for the difference in attitude which may have preserved simply without understanding the original.
Tactical purpose there. I have heard this too and it is well accepted that this is the reason offered for this original Judaic law in the variation elsewhere I personally think it's a very naive way to approach it and I would say is this the law was not passed saying that due to underpopulation we must curb this pleasant activity the law was passed this is an abomination against nature and God.
It was done with a tremendous emotional impact. The feeling of disgust and horror at the law was implicit or at the act. Furthermore practically speaking a very small percent of actual sexual intercourse is homosexual or a relatively small percentage certainly. And if this were merely a matter of part of the time the wastefulness of the productivity there would still be plenty of time left to produce the race that people that are primarily or entirely homo sex are not going to produce anyone anyway. And there is no possible purpose in passing the law because the people that have this propensity to the exclusion of heterosexual activity are not going to be a productive member. We know that today and it is a matter of fact if they want on this assumption it was a naive one and not scientifically sound. The other thing that convinced me that it is not so is the fact that it has lasted so long. There must be some additional factor which I believe is the unconscious fair or disgust or hatred or threat of homosexuality to make it last as long it takes more than mere innate repetition it must be something to reinforce the repetition of the law and I think that's evident at our present time it is other factors the individual periods and it's manifested by society.
I would agree wholeheartedly with Dr Wilson said that he had two more points and this is supposed to be a response to your questions. The first place I would reject this explanation out of hand because human beings don't behave this rationally. And secondly prohibitions against homosexuality occur in many many societies that bear no relationship to the ancient Judaic peoples.
Let me finish as I was saying there's one point which I want to throw up for discussion which I think is even more controversial than the others. Assuming that we had the scientific information which we could pass a law to curb homosexuality I wonder in the standpoint of purity civil rights question whether we have the right to do so. We have the right to curb activity that threaten society and we don't. Under our present constitution have the right to curb activity that we happen to disagree with. If there is no real threat to our society by homosexuality what basis do we have to pass a law anyway curving. We can pass a law as far as crimes of violence as far as taking advantage of children this can be done under present law. But do we have the moral or at least legal right to pass laws against behavior that happens to go against what we consider the proper sort of normal behavior.
And with US Senate's serious I'm some kind of developer so I'm going to just say you know we're going back to this other question about that. Basis for establishing laws against homosexuality. My understanding is that this Jewish code was promo gaited after the return from the Jews from captivity. And at that time they established a whole series of highly restrictive laws designed to make the Jews stand out as different from others and the implication. Do not do this because the Hittites do this or don't do this because somebody else does that.
And so they set up a very a very restrictive set of laws governing not only sex behavior but other behaviors. That is one point. Secondly it seems to me this idea about controlling population is just something that has sprung up as a more or less a rationalization or somebody looking for an explanation for it decides that. I believe however that to. It's been pointed out many times that the cultures that allow homosexuality freely in many cases not all but in many cases have a higher increase in population than countries that do not allow it. So that practical way it does not seem to have had this great threatening effect upon the population of a country which some hold to be the case and I agree with Dr. Beach if there's nothing to indicate that this was thought out beforehand as a very intellectual judgment on something to accomplish what was best for the country it seems to be purely on an emotional basis and a part of that general repressive attitude towards all sexual behavior. Many who feel that way. It's better for a person not to have any sort of sex expression in his life. That's a higher type of life and we find it in our own culture held by many persons and if they put that idea across them obviously homosexuality is one of the things they would want to do away with and they have not of course confined themselves to homosexuality.
The rules and regulations are for every sex has come into the picture at any level it seems to me as a layperson that we're dealing here with the very roots of the most sensitive area in all of human expression which is irretrievably mixed up with our emotional and religious and physical attitudes. And therefore it it to. It is certainly a question of how much in light movement we can get in trying to deal with our most. Really profound problems in relation to to life itself and where the law comes into that is something which is not at all clear to me as a as a lay person. I if it's a job for anyone to help the homosexual to make his adjustment society it does seem to me to be the job of a physician or a psychiatrist or an analyst rather then a judge you know I think if it did it would be all of you find yourselves in agreement with that.
There was one thing I wonder if you happen to pick up a mystery call of resenting them at a chain and his first comment said something about homosexual ism rather than homosexuality which I think is a good social way to look at it. It isn't Islam it's a way of life. And as far as the law is concerned or at least to criminal law or society they treat it as an ism as a way of life which they feel are threatening to them.
Actually if you look at any of the criminal laws and there's been a great emphasis on the criminal laws here all I'm trying to suggest that the civil law and there is a development through these license revocation cases that may be even more significant than the criminal laws many of which are not enforced as you know the criminal laws. But if you look at the criminal laws you won't find any reference to homosexuals or homosexuality in the law itself. Homosexuality is not made a crime in this country. There's no reference to homosexuals in any of the statutes. They are prosecuted if they are under laws that are generally vague and ambiguous terminology which would apply not just to homosexuals but to heterosexuals or any individuals. As a practical matter many times they are utilized against what we describe as homosexuals and they are abused in that respect they subject homosexuals to blackmail frequently.
But you raise the question which interests me and that is what basis a constitutional basis is there for passing discriminatory laws against individuals of homo sexual tendencies and that's one of the questions of what we are presently raising in civil court cases in a civil matter.
That's step up from the standpoint of factually in a light moment for the audience when you say there are no laws against homosexuality and so on and I as I understand it you mean that what the law specifies is a given act.
Well you know I when I say The point is it doesn't specify a different act. For example if you take the California law it states that anybody and I quote guilty of the infamous crime against nature committed with mankind or with any animal. And of that quote. Now this is left somewhat to your imagination as to what they are talking about.
And if the use of such wording or very similar wording in many states has led to long controversies as to just what sort of sex behavior is to be included in the definition of that sort. And the courts even hear all of the times that you don't have to specify with the same degree of exactness. Acts of this sort that you would if you were discussing some other crime and likely some details of a murder yes.
And then even even say I'm that the term sometimes used the unspeakable crime against nature that gets properly so defined.
You don't have to say anything more about it.
Well then in other words the law itself is stated in such a way that it has been responsive to an almost superstitious and on the enlightened view of this matter and other crimes under the law. I believe that the situation is quite explicit and in considerable detail and so on but here you have something which reads like it should have come out of a religious document or didn't and they can go back and get their actual quotation and they are an ancient Christian religion with great calls of that abominable see I'm not fit to be named among the Christians that's the translation of it from the Latin.
And I'd like to point out that as far as I know.
Are nowhere takes this sort of attitude towards any other sort of behavior. This stands out unique and therefore of special interest I think to all students of human nature and human behavior.
Well it's perceptible to the lay person in terms of the fact that in things like detective stories and movies even and so on. The most grim things can be discussed in detail regarding murder for example. But any thing which touches on sex in any form of its forms must be hedged round day. In other words sex which is presumably under the proper circumstances not a crime is treated with infinitely greater mystification and vagueness then murder which is presumably a crime which I think all points to the same thing which as I understand it all of you have been driving at. The law is they get and open to loose interpretation and therefore capable of justice against the individual. And where it is invoked against him as well as bearing no fruit from a social standpoint. And I think perhaps now we are ready to go over into what you people feel would be a sane and constructive attitude for society to take legally and socially also in this manner.
Who would like to.
Well I'll jump in the breach here I think. But to start with the assumption that we have made it is valid namely that we don't have a scientific answer as to the cause of this and secondly we're not sure we even have the moral or legal right to pass such laws. The answer would be a code of law. Based on what we do know and what we can do namely we can prevent crimes of violence we can prevent any act in which one of the parties is not a willing participant and secondly we can and should prevent action which one of the participants is not of legal age or legal capacity to participate willingly. Another words we could pass laws in which the sexual aspect would not even be a major portion of the law it would be used on the other portion the matter of violence and consent and the sexual part. Same as any other act. Any other unprivileged act whether it be a matter of aggression or violence or sexual act. Such a law I think would satisfy my requirements for a fair and sensible approach to leaving the homosexual part as a medical social problem which it is.
And I think that you would probably have something to say about the dangers that you feel in here and in this loose application of laws in relation to the very type of case that you were discussing earlier.
Well what's happened is this that all the criminal laws not enforced has been a move in recent years in this state particularly to indirectly deprive people with homosexual tendencies of what we would normally see as their freedom of association freedom of to act as other individuals. Now in civil matters. We're speaking now of the right to patronize a bar or restaurant or a place of amusement or even a social club. The attack is made indirectly by saying to people that have licenses from the state of California although you are forced by law to serve these people you're forced by law not to discriminate. And although you can't identify them even if you wanted to steal your license could be revoked if it turns out a large group of them patronize your place or you cater to them. Now this is being challenged in the courts I think will be successful in establishing that the licenses cannot be revoked under those circumstances but there has to be a reassertion by the courts of this right of our freedom of association and perhaps a little further freedom of sexual choice. At least that's what we're arguing. And maybe through the civil cases we can eventually influence the criminal law the criminal law incidentally is being examined. And as Dr. Bohman undoubtably will refer to later the American Law Institute in their model penal code has recommended. That the Penal Laws of the United States be changed along the lines mentioned earlier here so that and where there is consent by adults and children are not involved and force is not involved. Society should not make it a crime for any of this sort of sexual behavior in private where involves public acts that's another story in other words acts of indecency have always been forbidden. But that's true of any type of individual no matter what its sexual tendencies. We feel those of us who've looked into it from the legal aspect of the subject that we find a strange situation where Court decisions of held and recently that homosexuals are no menace to society that it isn't true that they have any propensity to commit sex crimes and the like. That was established within the past two years by California appellate court. And yet on the level of a police officer or the district attorney of the chief of police the level alleges certain legislators they feel this is a menace that they should reach it however by indirect means rather than direct. And there is an attempt to whittle away the civil rights of these individuals by vague laws by indirect. Procedure such is now going on in the state to revoke licenses there have been 10 licenses revoked in this very bay area. Bars and restaurants simply on the grounds and a large number of homosexuals allegedly congregate in those places.
Had they any idea how they're going to let remove the civil rights of one element in the population without removing everyone else's civil rights what is to stop the police force or anybody else who is operating along those lines from deciding that a place where Democrats congregate or Methodists congregate or anybody else congregate are undesirable.
Well believe it or not that was what bothered the Supreme Court in 1951 in the original decision. Suman versus Riley they felt that if they didn't come out and directly express the civil rights of people of almost sexual tendencies that then the next step would be to go after people who others did not like because of the color of their hair or for any other reason. So they reaffirm that right. But then the legislature as I said. Took a different attitude on this decision than this and by statute try to overrule a literal overturn it however I feel the courts ultimately will revert to reestablishing the principle that you mentioned primarily because of that very point that if their civil rights or liberties can be whittled away you so much Dr. Bowman Perhaps you could tell us something about what you did recommend in the report which has been referred to several times and to be felt would be a constructive legislation in this matter.
I've made a number of recommendations and reports at various times and I'm not sure exactly this specific one of those is referred to but I think I can perhaps best give you my own opinion that the present time I was asked what I recommended in a recent talk which was kept off the radio I may say now I have. But agree with Dr. Wilson that sex crimes of violence and sex crimes against children are a proper subject for law. I do think however that the law has no right to step in and stipulate what shall be the sex practices of a married couple. I think it is no business of the law and they are going outside their own sphere and rights when they attempt to do so as they do at the present time and I could give some quite interesting cases of that sort if time allowed. Secondly when the law steps in and tells a doctor that he cannot give birth control information to a married woman or he thinks that her becoming pregnant might cause her death.
I think the law is them taking on the warranted step first preventing the proper practice of medicine and an interference in the rights of a marriage person.
It's the year.
Particularly things that we're discussing here however is this problem of homosexuality. And I would like to point to other groups who have come out with very strong opinions on this subject and that the public at large should recognize this.
The concept that homosexual acts carried out in private to telling adults no force used no physical harm carried out should not be a crime. The British Medical Association has come out in favor of such a law. A report of the Council of the Church of England drawn up several years ago. Has stated that. Although it considers homosexual acts are a sin in the eyes of the church they are not necessarily crimes punishable by the state goes on to bring out the reasons for this.
We have as has been mentioned but before the American Law Institute in May 1955 toting 35 to 24 to recommend that sodomy between income flow consenting adults quote be removed from the list of crimes against the peace and dignity of the state and of the quote. And in this final debate the argument was essentially Judge John J. Parker opposed any change of the present law on the grounds that many things are and again I quote denounced by the criminal code in order that society may know that the state disapproves and has a quote. And then Judge Learned Hand who I think is one of the most respected to take him American long prison time spoke for the radiation.
He said that criminal law which is not enforced is worth it which is not enforced is worse than no law at all and said that after having previously voted the other way he now I have decided that sodomy is and again I quote a matter of Marlowe's a matter very largely of taste and quote and not something for which a person should be put in prison. I mention all this because I think many persons listening might assume that this was some new and original and sort of crackpot idea of the discussant fear that had not received much consideration elsewhere and therefore to back up the views which I hold and I am quoting authorities of this sort and indicating that for a number of years these views have been advocated by groups such as this.
Dr. Wilson would you like to comment on your ideas some more extensively and also I think something which might be of interest to the audience at what abuse is from a legal standpoint.
Do you feel the present structure encourages the kid beauty is to me are the ones that you might not see.
There was apparently a boy is a law after all and theoretically it should to be administered as any other law without any particular danger to the individual as protected by our supreme court appellate courts who protect individual rights.
Unfortunately this isn't true because the mere existence of the law itself can be a tremendous threat to the person who is involved in it. Granted maybe this is going to go to the Supreme Court and be overturned but in the meantime you may want to ruin a person's life by the mere existence of the law and the threat of the law or perhaps the enforcement of the law at a lower level. If we can assume that the law is not practical not about to leave based not perhaps morally on the books its mere existence is a threat and the law should be changed not the matter of enforcement the matter of enforcement may in the long run keep a person. Out of prison if we have an active an intelligent appellate court it won't protect his status from society. So I'm merely arguing that we should enforce a law on a liberal and sensible basis is no answer. The law itself as long as it exists is a threat. The other thing I might mention is that the problem is more than one of merely voicing our views here and suggesting changes there is this tremendous backlog of prejudice feeling unconscious and conscious feelings about this problem. The legislature is not going to change a law overnight until they themselves begin to understand the problems involved. It isn't going to happen overnight there is going to be difficulty.
We still have a tremendous amount of prejudice and feeling about heterosexual activity under the wrong circumstances and that is relatively a minor threat to society as compared to this one. It's going to take time. It's going to take education. This is a start. The mere fact this can be aired publicly is a start in the right direction. But it is a matter of fact this is so controversial as Dr. Bowen mentioned another attempt at airing these views was turned down by many radio stations as being too much of a controversial issue. Too much of a threat to the people. If that's the case you can imagine how far it will be when you get a legislature that is very sensitive to the feelings of its constituents the real feelings or imagined feelings.
And so it's going to be a difficult time. I just want to throw this out has not being over we can certainly be overambitious perhaps but at least be realistic about the immediacy of the results in this. And I miss a generation to us now it's a clearly constitutional principle that a person has a right to marry anyone they choose. And yet on our books in California this law still is there prohibiting the use even though the Supreme Court is accorded unconstitutional but legislating you know racial marrieds right words the legislature has not seen fit to take it off the books it's still there. This is something you know as do most people. Very clear issue and yet there are still some feeling about this. I want to get into the thing loaded emotionally as homosexuality it's going to be a harder fight.
In other words I think that all of the president would feel that whatever adjustment of the homosexuals is into himself is wise and helpful. It's something which is not a matter for them but something which will have to be studied and worked with people on and not only an individual level but the level of the attitudes of society regarding it is that.
I'd like to at this point. Hello we are all agreed you can't legislate morality and that all of these statutes are on the books. It isn't going to make changes to the number of homosexuals or homosexual activities or actual actions. The fact is that the existence of the statutes results in side abuses it is not generally known to the public and that's the question you were raising. In other words out of the six million so-called homosexual acts that are supposed to occur annually in this country very few prosecutions take place. But there are a great number of instances developed of blackmail. That may be going on without our knowing it but others do come into public light. We have examples of extortion blackmail situations right here in this area. Then we have this situation. Suppose the chief of police as happened in San Francisco gets orders if they want to close the bars that cater to these places. What happens is that immediately all patrons of a bar two o'clock as they're leaving are put in the black police car taken to jail and held overnight as vagrants they were released in the morning. But this goes on daily for a few weeks and these people are discouraged from going to bars now this actually happened last year in cases of number of these restaurants. Then many others are arrested as vagrants because somebody has an entity against him and reports him as homosexuals. They don't. Fight the matter because they don't want exposure. They are released in most cases some cases not some cases they plead guilty because they don't know their civil rights or don't have either the money of the inclination to find it. Then they must in some situations register as a sex offender under these registration laws. There are a lot of these abuses. Oh I could mention entrapment that takes place by police officers and violating constitutional rights but not challenge because the individual doesn't want to challenge it in view of the public feeling about this sort of thing. Now it seems to me that if these abuses are made more public if the public is aware that even though the statutes are not enforced there are the subsidiary consequences which violate people's individual rights that might offend the sense of decency of a great number of people and widespread publication of these facts might eventually lead to a change in attitude and that's one possible hope although it is the thing that will take a long long period of education.
We have organizations that perhaps should be mentioned that are interested in this subject but they are generally organizations of the people who personally have been involved. It is to be hoped that they will eventually make headway in their educational program to educate the general public of the facts some of which have been mentioned on this program.
But as you know minority situations I suppose the education of the majority is really what is at issue. I mean where something a group of people gather together to try to educate because they are the considered minority. They're always at somewhat of a disadvantage it is when the outside group begins to educate itself that we begin to get somewhere it seems that any that's what we're attempting to do.
These discussions the two of you have something you wanted to say or just had a note from one of our small audience here that you can't really stop blackmail by taking aloft the book In other words since homosexuality isn't probably for a long long time will be a moral issue. Religious moral social and so forth. Even without the law there can be some blackmail however. The degree of this albeit much less because of people are adjusted to their homosexual problem and there is no law against it. It would be much more difficult to blackmail them that it would be if the threat of the policeman was there. We are going to change certainly overnight or even over many generations the total social and moral attitude about homosexuality or merely suggesting that it be considered the same as any other minority group.
And this fear of their own choice and behavior activates in connection with the problems involved in educating the public. And I agree that this is the way and perhaps the only way to eventually solve this will mess.
One of the lessons that I think we ought to try to get across comes from the wording of the law that Dr. Wilmut mentioned namely crime against nature.
Now the man that made up that wording didn't know much about nature. And one of the plagues we might get across it's possible is that the capacity for this kind of activity is inherent in man's biological constitution and there is nothing quote unnatural about homosexual activity.
And from a logical via logical historical all the standpoint that has been amply proven from the standpoint of scientists not great.
Actually Bowman Have you anything further to say this time which is ridiculous I don't think you are going to think so and about all I have to say.
Well I think the panel has been pretty complete agreement at many levels. First that this is not a question of crime and secondly that if society is going to deal constructively with the problems presented by it it must not be at the level of crime and superstition and fear that it is dealt with.
But with enlightenment and understanding and the scientific approach as far as the individual is concerned and the approach which safeguards the rights of the total society as far as our legal latitude is considered.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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- KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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- Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
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- In the second part of this ground-breaking radio panel discussion on homosexuals, Elsa Knight Thompson moderates a panel discussion of the following speakers: Dr. Karl Bowman, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of California, and former Head of the Langley Porter Clinic; Dr. Frank A. Beach, Jr., Professor of Psychology, University of California; Morris Lowenthal, San Francisco attorney; and Dr. David H. Wilson, Dept. of Criminology, University of California. In this portion of the program, the panelists discuss laws regarding homosexuals, civil rights of homosexuals, identification of homosexuals, gender identification in society, possible causes of sexual choice, i.e. heredity versus environmental causes, and how society can constructively deal with these issues.
- Gays -- History; Homosexuality; Radio panel discussions; Gay rights--United States
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Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 15334_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB0012B_Homosexual_in_our_society_part_2 (Filename)
Generation: Master: preservation
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- Chicago: “The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 2 of 2),” 1958-11-24, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-tt4fn11944.
- MLA: “The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 2 of 2).” 1958-11-24. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-tt4fn11944>.
- APA: The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 2 of 2). Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-tt4fn11944