Legislation and normalisation

‘If it’s not illegal, then mustn’t it be treated as normal?’

Part of the tricky logic around the gay rights movement for the average secular onlooker is - ‘if it’s not illegal, then mustn’t it be treated as normal?’

Now I think that just because something is a sin doesn’t mean it should be illegal. I don’t think we should have laws against coveting, for example.

But once something stops being illegal, it becomes harder for the formal structures of society to not start treating it as normal. Once arguments against unjustifiable criminal punishments are won, the arguments shift to ‘rights’ and ‘fairness’ and even just ‘reasonableness’.

Our society has decided homosexuality is not socially criminal. And doctors have declared it not sick. And so doesn’t that mean it is ‘normal’ or ‘legitimate’? And so should we proactively talk about it as such?


What makes something 'normal'?

What other ways do we have as a whole society for allowing something to be legitimate, while not conceding that it is normal? And on what grounds would we be able to establish such a thing?

The main grounds I think are utilitarian - if something can be shown to be socially harmful it may not be illegal, but it should definitley be stigmatised. If something is not socially harmful, then it can be normalised.

But is that the only option? Are there other ways to build a civil ethic that is neither utilitarian nor religious? 

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