The night time is the right time...
I generally avoid Bob Ellis's "Dakota" Voice in part because it is not a "Dakota Voice." Ellis's regurgitations of Tea Party talking points could come from anywhere. With nothing original to say, he often reposts in full commentators from elsewhere who have nothing to say about South Dakota (or North Dakota, or Dakota trucks, or Dakota Fanning...).
Today's case in point: Dakota Voice prints this ramble from David Mann, a Florida man who wrecked his family by getting into Internet porn. In an all too familiar pattern, this professed Christian tries to expiate his sins by turning his private mistakes into a public crusade against sex. Because his own obsession with sex messed up his life (and the lives of his wife and children), Mann claims sex is not a right:
People tend to think of sex as an inalienable right, but it is not. It is a privilege, and one that carries tremendous responsibility due to its power. Not only does it have the power to create life, but it creates a strong bond between the man and woman involved. Its very design assumes that a couple will produce children and stay together while raising them, and beyond. Even with the reproductive aspect not being fulfilled, the bonding aspect is there. Thus, when sexuality is misused, it has great power to damage [David Mann, "Sex Is Not a Right,"
FloridaDakota Voice, 2011.05.31].
Odd: in his thousand-word pile of baseless assertions and confessional self-aggrandizement, Mann never manages to explain just why sex is not a right. He certainly doesn't explain how government may presume to dictate who can have sex with whom, a pretty fundamental test of the extent of a right. Mann just slaps a sloppy headline over anything he considers a "misuse" of sex: casual encounters, "shacking up," homosexuality... pretty much any non-marital tingly stuff that doesn't produce offspring.
If I work hard, I can maybe read in Mann's above passage an argument that actions that carry tremendous responsibility due to their power are not rights, but privileges. Again, odd: speech has great power that demands great responsibility, yet free speech is a right.
Sex is a right, albeit a complicated one. It takes two to tango. You can't force anyone to tango with you; folks have a right not to tango. But if you find a willing partner, you two can tango pretty much all you want. Thanks to our right to privacy, neither Mann nor the state nor anyone else can tell us to stop tango-ing.
That's still not an absolute right: you and your partner still can't do your thing in a public place. No right is absolute; every right exists in tension with others, and the balance with which we resolve that tension varies with time and circumstances. But sex among willing participants, like free speech in a democracy, is still a right.
Related: Not that public opinion surveys define rights, but Mann should check out these stats from Gallup via Constant Conservative. Majorities of Americans consider gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, and extramarital sex morally acceptable. An even larger majority (66%) says pornography is morally wrong.