Legislating Sex

Adam Lawrence Dyer
3 min readSep 20, 2019

Arizona artists win suit over same-sex wedding invitations — Associated Press 9/17

Faith and sexuality cannot remain in conflict in the United States. Faith and sexuality exist in different orbits of what it means to be human; even if they do cross paths, they have no reason to collide. Belief by its very nature is primarily subjective. As belief is based on perception of the world and perception of existence, it lives with the individual and it must be subjective. Although heavily influenced by facts of our embodied existence (ability, race, gender…and yes, sexuality) the way one person experiences that reality cannot be the same as any other being.

Although we are accustomed to thinking of sexuality as being subjective, it is different. Sexuality is a fact. Even though the expression of that sexuality (between humans) may be completely subjective, the fact of human sexuality is part of what defines the human creature. We are in part defined from other beings through our capacity to experience sexuality as intentional communication with each other and not simply hormonal or instinctive impulse. What is more, one expression of that sexuality is not more valid or more natural than another, barring explicit protections for those who are vulnerable to exploitation or oppression through that expression.

Ask any atheist and they will tell you that religion is not an absolute part of how we are defined as beings. What is part of what defines us as human is our higher brain function that allows us to experience religion as foundational to life and organized community. The exercise of this brain function can be a beautiful part of the human experience; and it can be the cause for war. In fact, it is our higher brain function ironically that creates the war between the subjective elements in question here: our expression of belief as religion and our expression of sexuality.

Government in the United States has always ultimately failed at legislating our basic humanity. Slavery, Indian removal, disenfranchisement of women, legal sterilization of those perceived as “inferior”, preventing interracial marriage…these are all eventual legislative failures because they attempt to treat as subjective what is and will always be objective in the human being: embodiment. Today, we are gearing up for what will surely be a Supreme Court decision on the full embodied humanity of LGBTQ people. But LGBTQ people will win because our existence and the fact of human sexuality which defines us has always included a wide spectrum of manifestations and should never have been questioned to begin with.

Insulting though this entire exercise of having to prove our right to exist in our bodies may be, we LGBTQ people must continue to remind communities of “faith” who would deny us wedding invitations, marriage licenses, work and housing that no law can invalidate the basic right to human sexuality. We must stop legislating humanity. There is no “sincerely held belief” that is more valid than your or my DNA.

I promise, if you keep your God out of my bedroom, I will not to have sex on your altar.


“Religious Liberty” advocate site (conservative/Christian):

The Gospel Coalition on the advance of Religious Liberty bills

Liberal pro LGBTQ voices:

Center For American Progress on Religious Liberty

American Civil Liberties Union legislation impacting LGBTQ people

Southern Poverty Law Center on anti-LGBTQ initiatives


Desert News on Religious Liberty Bills

Bill of Rights Institute history of Religious Liberty Bills

Originally published at http://spirituwellness.org on September 20, 2019.