Monday, June 16, 2008

Oprah celebrates sibling relationships; presents a family with four gay brothers

Oprah Winfrey today (Monday June 16, 4 PM on ABC-WJLA in Washington, EDT) celebrated sibling relationships, with perhaps a twist. She presented America’s first African American sextuplets.

Two blood siblings adopted separately from China were reunited because of the good luck of their parents being in the same support group.

A single mother from Mississippi raises five sons, including a set of triplets.

But the story that caught my attention was that of a Catholic family (named Huckaby, not quite the same spelling as the former Republican presidential candidate) of eight children with four gay brothers. The first to come to terms was Jason, who was studying to become a priest and then decided that he did not want to be alone in a manner required by the vows of the Catholic Church (for both celibacy and abstinence). Jonathan and Jody would eventually follow suit, and Jody would become an executive director of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). The show did not seem to identify the fourth brother, or specifically say how many of the children were male. Nevertheless, the story would seem to support a theory that sexual orientation has a biological and perhaps genetic explanation, as documented in the 1990s with the work for Chandler Burr. There was tension for a while over whether Jason had “chosen” his lifestyle or identity, which was resolved by both faith and by the eventual statements by the other brothers.

The opposition of Roman Catholic theology, at least as stated by the Vatican in modern times, to homosexual behavior is well known, and, whatever the theological rationale behind “the teachings of the Church”, it has always seemed to me to be trying to address the issue of “emotional karma” and family cohesion – making sure that everyone shares the “risks” and loyalties required by family life in some kind of “fair” way. Indeed the show today as a whole celebrated blood relationships for their own sake.

The link for the show is this.

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