Debating Homosexuality Understanding Two ViewsBy Peter Sprigg Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Activists pushing for a "gay rights" political agenda have become increasingly aggressive in their attacks upon their opponents. They misunderstand (or misrepresent) the views of social conservatives, in part because of conflicting paradigms for understanding homosexuality.
The "gay identity" paradigm includes the belief that being gay is an innate characteristic which cannot change. Yet the empirical case for the "gay identity" paradigm is weak-science has not found that homosexuality is determined by biological or genetic factors, and there is an abundance of evidence that sexual orientation can change.
Of the three aspects of "sexual orientation"-attractions, conduct, and self-identification-social conservatives view homosexual conduct as the most important, and thus operate from a "homosexual conduct" paradigm. We believe homosexual conduct is harmful, and therefore oppose demands that homosexual conduct and relationships be protected, affirmed, and celebrated. The harms associated with homosexuality include serious physical and mental health problems.
Pro-homosexual activists have begun to demand that no debate on the issue of homosexuality be permitted. Yet there are legitimate grounds for debate on the origin, nature, and consequences of homosexuality. That debate should continue, with a respect for honest research and for freedom of thought, speech, and religion.