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Ask any heterosexual when they chose to be that way.

Even if there is an environmental or cognitive component, they would have to be impressed on an individual early in life. So homosexuality, still isn't a choice.

Why is that a "must?" More than likely there is not one way it develops, but a range. This search for the "single way" always struck me as funny, as did the very notion of a gay gene. It seems to simplify what is an amazingly complex system: the mind.

I read an interesting article in Time about a year ago about the intersection of genetics and environment. Researchers looked at some men who were quite violent and anti-social, and found that they all had a specific gene construction, and they had all been abused as children. They found the same gene fragment in men who had not been abused, and they were not violent and anti-social. They studied other abused men, and they were not violent and anti-social. Apparently, the gene alone wasn't enough, and environment alone wasn't enough, but the combination of both produced monsters.

I don't know why homosexuality can't be the same way. That is, born with the predisposition, and expression based in some degree on environment.

I think no one asks how heterosexuals "became" that way because that is the norm not the exception. All creatures are designed to have complimentary components (male/female) in order to fulfill the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply".

John, you miss the point. (There are creatures, by the way, that reproduce asexually. There are even frogs and fish that change sex depending on their environment.)

If homosexuality is a choice, then clearly all homosexuals reached a point in their life where they had to choose between being gay and being straight. If faced with such a choice, why would any sane person choose to be gay? If homosexuality is a choice, then the other alternative, heterosexuality, is also a choice. When did you choose to be heterosexual?

I don't think any gay people are trying to argue that their way might be compatible with procreation, making your argument, well, dumb.

(There are creatures, by the way, that reproduce asexually. There are even frogs and fish that change sex depending on their environment. See http://snipurl.com/9tpa.)

I'm sorry, but I can't get past the title of this post without laughing.

Go ahead, try reading the title out loud.

If homosexuality is a choice, then clearly all homosexuals reached a point in their life where they had to choose between being gay and being straight. If faced with such a choice, why would any sane person choose to be gay? If homosexuality is a choice, then the other alternative, heterosexuality, is also a choice. When did you choose to be heterosexual?

Are facets of inherent sexual orientation beyond choice? Quite possibly. After all, I feel heterosexual to the core, and I can't see how I could have ever have chosen differently.

Is sexual activity and focus chosen? You betcha. A gay friend of mine makes a distinction between "homosexual" and "gay," in that "gay" to him means a conscious acceptance of his sexual orientation and a decision to live a certain lifestyle centered around that.

So, once again, a large part of the debate comes down to definition of terms. I never chose to be heterosexual, but I definitely did choose to lead a "straight lifestyle."

Pheo asks at what point do heterosexuals choose to be hetero. That implies that you are either hardwired hetero or homo. So heteros are hardwired in the same way that homos argue they are.

Maybe this is the wrong focus. Perhaps we are all indeed hardwired, but what we are hardwired for is sexual gratification as a biological function and everyone chooses the source of their gratification. God has told us where it is appropriate to seek this gratification and those who have chosen heterosexual relationships (within marriage) are seeking it in the right place, under God's law. Perhaps some kind of tendency towards fraternal compatibility drives people who think they are homosexual to seek sexual gratification with the sex that they feel more socially comfortable with. If so, that doesn't mean they are hardwired for homosexuality; rather, they, like heterosexuals, are hardwired for sexual gratification and are seeking it where it is easier for them personally to find it.

So when did you choose the source of your gratification? How nice for you that the girls didn't play hard to get and force you to become a homosexual to find gratification.

The gay kid that I knew since kindergarten was ostracised from the boys in his class his whole life. He always identified with the girls. There was obviously something different about his brain. I, on the other hand, felt awkward around girls, but that didn't make me seek out gay relationships.

Can gay people abstain from sex? Yes. I imagine that I know how this must feel in that I abstained from sex until I was married, despite intense feelings to do otherwise. What made this bearable for me was the fact that this would not be a lifelong burden. So I guess I can't really imagine how a faithful homosexual Mormon must feel.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but everyone is contorting to fit the square peg of reality in the round whole of his/her interpretation of what Jesus might have meant. Not to say that Christianity doesn't condemn homosexuality. It unequivocally does. But scripture also condemns denying civil rights to people because of their beliefs (D&C 134:9). But apparently, President Hinckley says that it is our civic duty to vote against efforts to extend any kind of civil rights to gay couples. So much for the idea that one can be a good Mormon and a Democrat, eh?

But scripture also condemns denying civil rights to people because of their beliefs (D&C 134:9). But apparently, President Hinckley says that it is our civic duty to vote against efforts to extend any kind of civil rights to gay couples.

And of course, inserting hyperbole like "any kind of civil rights" into the discussion certainly clarifies things, right?

Gender isn't male or female, black or white as we have traditionally socialized ourselves to believe. Gender is a continuous spectrum from extremely masculine to extremely feminine. One in ten thousand is born hermaphroditic sp? with working sets of both sex organs. In our society these individuals are given a choice at puberty which gender they wish to follow. There are males who are born very feminine and females who are born very masculine. Some effeminate males are heterosexual and vice-versa.
My mother was sexually molested by a family member at puberty and was so predisposed to experimentation when confronted by a predatory lesbian in her teens. She then lived the life of a good american housewife from 1948 to her divorce in 1963 being faithful to her husband and bearing four children. She later made the concious choice to be a lesbian and remained so till her death. She never pretended that she was genetically predisposed to her sexual preference.
Has every homosexual made a concious choice to be so? Probably not, however if a heterosexual can choose celibacy or even homosexuality in a prison environment, a homosexual can choose heterosexuality or celibacy. Should those who choose deviance from the norm be afforded the same legal acceptance as the majority? If you want to encourage people that direction in an effort to minimize population growth then it makes sense. Otherwise, I think growing up in a fragmented family has it's own set of woes which I don't intend to have my children experience. (God willing.)

Nathan: "And of course, inserting hyperbole like "any kind of civil rights" into the discussion certainly clarifies things, right?"

First Presidency: "The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship."

So I misspoke... But the Church is against extending any kind of rights related to civil benefits of marriage. I wasn't trying to argue that they should have their voting rights stripped. I think in the context of the discussion, you could have deduced that.

I have a brother who is gay - his identical twin is not. He will tell you that he felt same-sex attraction from about the age of 5. I don't think you can broadly state whether homosexuality is a choice or not, but a 5 year old doesn't understand enough to make a concious choice, and would lean me towards him being 'born that way'.

Rebecca, that's certainly an interesting case. On the one hand, it suggests that genetic endowment certainly does not determine one's sexual orientation. On the other hand, a very early sense of one's sexual orientation suggests something happens very early in a child's psyche to push a child one way or the other (or both or neither, I suppose) which would be hard to categorize as "choice." If it goes back early enough, it doesn't matter whether one is "born that way" or simply "becomes that way" without any conscious choice at a very early age.

There are a lot of srange and unsupported ideas on this log. I think that before you start preaching one way or the other you should get your facts straight. Here's a URL for an excellent scientific and sociological discussion on homosexuality by a mormon expert in the field:

http://www.fairlds.org/pubs/conf/2004ByrD.html

By the way, hermaphrodites do not choose at puberty what sex to be. First, neither set of sex organs is complete or functionable. They will never reproduce. At birth they have a Karyotype done to identify their genetic makeup and are then raised accordingly (At least that's what I learned in medical school).

No study that I've ever found suggests any strong tie between genes and homosexuality. Also, before it became taboo to suggest changing gays, there were several well-documented studies that showed gays could change their orientation. Look it up, you'll find it too.

Nice comments, Jay. I actually linked to the FAIR article you gave in a prior weblog post I have done on this interesting subject--see the two links I provided at the bottom of the post.

Also, the whole tone of my post (supported by quotes from practicing medical professionals who, I suspect, are more familiar with the issue than either of us) is that there is no simple or clearcut explanation, so I'm confused how you could read the post and think I was preaching. Or maybe you're just reacting to the mention of Pres. Bush in the post. That was a throwaway--I rarely blog on politics here.

Dave, I think Jay might have actually been referring to many of the comments rather than to your initial post.

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