Same-Sex Attraction

Constitutional amendments to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman have been overwhelmingly successful at the ballot box. Yet courts and legislatures continue to impose a radical redefinition of marriage on states.


I am convinced that the major reason for this is that those signing on to these changes believe that same-sex attraction (SSA) is 1) genetically determined and 2) unchangeable and therefore is a condition that deserves special protection from discrimination.

The fact is there is no scientifically replicated evidence that support either claim. If SSA were genetically determined, then we would expect that identical twins would virtually always have the same pattern of sexual attraction, but this is not the case. A study of men in the Australian Twins Registry revealed that in only 11% of the cases if one identical twin had SSA, so did the other twin. Given the similarities normally found in identical twins this precludes genetic determinism. There is a greater chance that a man’s identical twin will share his political party affiliation than his same-sex attraction.

Other studies have confirmed these finds and there is no evidence for a genetic link in women. I do know a pair of sisters who both experienced SSA. One has since, through prayer, been set free from these attractions after 20 years in same-sex relationships. Looking back, she is convinced that her SSA was in part related to the fact that her mother was depressed and unable to provide a positive model of womanhood, but mostly due to her experience of being raped at a young age by a relative and then watching as her sister was raped by the same person. Traumas and deficits may occur in the same family, but that doesn’t make the problems arising from them genetic.

When scientists tried to replicate the studies that were widely publicized as having found evidence of a “gay gene,” they failed. The book ‘‘Sex, Cells, and Same-sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference’’ (simultaneously published in two issues of the Journal of Homosexuality) examined claims for a biological cause for SSA. The editors, David Parker and John DeCecco (who by the way reject religious teachings on sexual morality) concluded, “Current research into possible biological bases of sexual preference has failed to produce any conclusive evidence. These studies omit the influence of psychological and sociological factors on sexual expression.” Since the book was published, the evidence against a biological cause has mounted.

Real change is possible. Studies going back 50 years have found that with or without therapy, some people do change their pattern of sexual attraction; although this is not to suggest that such a change is easy or that all who attempt it succeed.

Many of those who are unhappy with their SSA because it violates their religious and ethical beliefs, or simply because they are not comfortable in the “gay lifestyle,” do not aspire to the development of other sex attraction or marriage. They are content to be free from what they regard as unwanted and compulsive same-sex sexual attraction and only want to live a healthy, celibate life. Courage is a support group for such persons. Those who want to gain understanding into the roots of the SSA can contact the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) to find a therapist who can help them. PFOX (Parents and Friends of ExGays) offers support for families and for those who have come out of the life.

Unfortunately, those caught up in the gay lifestyle, which is too often characterized by promiscuity, short-term relationships, and infidelity, find it difficult to believe that once a person has been involved in same-sex relationships they can be happy living a celibate life. They accuse those who have left the lifestyle of lying or deceiving themselves. When persons who have come out of the lifestyle want to tell their story, the gay activists lobby to have them silenced. The activists are especially insistent that these men and women not be allowed to speak to students and offer a different perspective. They insist that students be told that persons with SSA were “born that way” and “can’t change.”

The public and students in particular, have a right to hear both sides of this important issue. Public schools should not be promoting provably untrue information as fact and denying those who have scientific evidence to support their point of view the right to speak. It is essential that the truth about SSA be widely proclaimed and that the voices of those who have achieved real change be heard. Only then, will the public understand why defending marriage as the union between one man and one woman does not discriminate, but is based on the truth about the human person.

Dale O’Leary is an internationally recognized lecturer and author of “The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality.”

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