Birds of a Feather (harpers.org)
Originally from Harper's Magazine, May 2005.
From a petition addressed to the mayor and city council clerk of Bremerhaven, Germany, circulated in February by the Austrian website Rainbow Online.
The Austrian newspaper Kurier has reported the following: “Four lady-penguins from Sweden are set to seduce the homosexual Humboldt penguins at the Bremerhaven Zoo, in the hope that this will lead to offspring.” I emphatically urge you to put a stop to this project for the following reasons:
1. You are both elected officials for the Social Democrats, a party that in 2001 legalized civil unions for same-sex couples in Germany. In interpreting the principle of equality guaranteed by the third clause of the Basic Law, it is not conclusively refutable that this right should also be extended to penguins.
2. Regulating the choice of partnership—particularly in dealing with minors under guardianship—constitutes an abusive act of coercion over dependents. The given excuse of promoting procreation as a justification for forced copulation is similar to the mindset that, in the past, informed projects such as “Lebensborn e.V.”
3. If the Bremerhaven Zoo had consulted international scientific journals, they would be aware that all similar experiments over the past few years have failed. There are male penguins in long-term monogamous relationships in New York’s Central Park Zoo and the Coney Island Aquarium. The gay males were placed in isolated pools with females that were ready to mate, but the mutual lack of sexual interest was so apparent that the experiment was abandoned and the desperate creatures returned to their partners of choice. Incidentally, it was observed that gay male penguin couples take great pleasure and care in brooding eggs that are abandoned by neglectful mothers and then feeding the youngsters until they become independent.
Although the gay penguins in your city’s zoo are not entitled to vote, please protect them from this organized and coercive harassment by means of feminine seductive arts. Let the penguins continue unhindered in mating with whomever their hearts desire.