The Scientific Debate on Homosexuality

Homosexuality has been known to exist in societies in varying degrees throughout the ages. Opposition to homosexuality has likewise always been present in societies, at times being very prominent and at other times much more tolerant. In recent times, over perhaps the past thirty years, homosexual behavior has become much more noticeable in our society. As this has become more mainstream and open both sides of the issue, the homosexuals themselves as well as the more conservative anti-homosexual elements, have grown ever louder in voicing their views.

To homosexuals themselves, homosexuality is neither a choice nor a disease but an identity. Homosexuals today feel that homosexuality is who they are and many have homosexual memories dating back over their entire lives. To them, it is not simply a behavior but who they are as people and pervades every aspect of their character. Increasingly over the past decades, studies have shown that homosexuals now feel that they were "born that way." In the 1970s, only about ten percent of gays felt that they had been born gay according to one survey. By the 1980s, that number had increased to 35%. Increasingly, homosexuals feel that being gay is the way that they are, for whatever reason.

In addition, much of our society agrees with countless other societies throughout the ages in condemning homosexuality as morally wrong. The vast majority of the world's churches take the stance that homosexual acts are a sin. To cite an example of a religious viewpoint, the Roman Catholic church in a passage from its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, states, "As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one's own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God." Homosexuality is labeled as a "moral disorder;" it is not regular or acceptable. Even many of those who do not take a religious standing on the issue feel it to be an abnormality and a perversion. With the growth in the everyday acceptance of homosexuals, many of these people have voiced their opposition ever more adamantly against the gay community and the gay lifestyle.

In the homosexual community's struggle to be recognized and accepted many have taken a political path as an instrument to meet their goals. In so doing many homosexuals have requested that they be viewed as any other minority as a refuge from discrimination. Many have objected to this perceived minority classification on the basis that homosexulaity is a choice. Many scientific studies today, however, are citing homosexuality as an innate characteristic. Therefore it has become a central theme to the homosexual political agenda to show that homosexual behavior is an innate characteristic that is genetic in nature like race or gender. If these claims can be backed by scientific facts, they conclude that all moral connotations regarding their behavior must be dropped. Linking homosexuality to biological causes is politically necessary since this is what links them to other geneticaly-determined groups such as blacks and women.

The arguments:

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