This story was written by Daniel Berger, Emory Wheel
Emorys Center for International Programs Abroad is truly one of the best study-abroad programs of any university the world over. Though some universities co-sponsor or recognize other universities programs, we lead programs all throughout the world. Study abroad experiences can help open our eyes to the cultures of the globe and the way they respond to our social norms differently. They have the power to challenge our thinking in ways we never considered.
One such program, which one of my friends took advantage of, was based in Abu Dhabi. While there, she spent quite a bit of time traveling the region and was most provoked when she took a weekend trip to Freedonia. In discussing Californias gay marriage referendum and ban, she related to me the Freedonian situation.
Freedonia is a small island nation in the Arabian Sea where the United States has set up an airstrip to help assist the war on terror. Freedonia has been one of the least reported-upon areas of the war owing partially to the bizarre anthropological and social standards there.
For these same reasons, however, Freedonia is featured prominently in classes on evolution, for the island is a textbook case of a phenomenon known as the Founders Effect, which dictates that genetic variation will decrease dramatically when a new colony of a small population is formed from a larger one. As a result, only 10 percent of the men on this island are heterosexual.
Heterosexual men are in high demand in Freedonia. A visible heterosexual minority copulates with many anonymous partners. Due to the actions of these few, they have a reputation in many social circles as being sexually promiscuous and sinful.
The U.S. occupation has only furthered this reputation, for American soldiers have introduced sexually transmissible infections to the island. Though statistically speaking a majority of heterosexuals do not have these diseases and though many have been quietly living under the radar in monogamous relationships for decades in the name of public health, the Freedonian parliament is considering banning heterosexual marriage.
Heterosexuals are destroying our society, one conservative Freedonian politician told a reporter from The New York Times. Theyre overrunning our hospitals. For generations our society has depended upon adoption. Though heterosexual sex is necessary for procreation, we believe that we need to overcome these base and carnal desires.
I sympathize with the heterosexuals, but we just dont know what will happen to our social norms if this behavior becomes government sanctioned, the leader added.
Freedonian religious leaders have been rather mixed. For years they have disapproved of but tolerated heterosexuality; with the rise of adoption, heterosexuality has become further condemned. Though religious leaders strongly reject Judeo-Christian values, they did not object to a temporary U.S. occupation due to American standards of religious pluralism and the economic opportunities it presented.
Liberals point to the societies seen in Europe and the United States as examples of what happens when heterosexual marriage takes place. Still, the conservatives have not been swayed.
In Proposition 8, the liberals of Freedonia have been greatly disappointed. They look at the voters of California imposing extra-legal morality and see it hurting their odds of having heterosexual marriage remain legal. They fear, in particular, that other rights will be taken away.
Im a heterosexual man and have lived with my partner for years, the leader of Freedonians for Marriage Equality said. All I want is the same rights my homosexual friends have.
Im a homosexual, always have been and never questioned it, on liberal leader told that same New York Times reporter. But to forbid queers [heterosexuals] the same rights we have seems unfair. Heterosexuals are, after all, people, and should not be treated with any less dignity.