I am usually the one who explains conservative positions to my liberal friends, but the idea that “homosexuality is a choice.” confuses me.
My father is not a tolerant guy by the UU definition of the word. He told me once that he believes homosexuality to be a genetic disease and that homosexuals were to be pitied because they could never feel for one another what he and my mother felt for each other.
(Seventeen-year-old CC was tempted to respond “What? You don’t think homosexuals can be indifferent?” but refrained.)
Now to UUs, that theory sounds pretty intolerant and awful.
But as anti-gay theories go, the “yes, homosexuals are born that way, but lots of people are born with evil urges they have to control to function as a decent person. God gave them a test and they shouldn't fail it” argument at least makes sense. While there’s a whole lot of opinion mixed in, it fits the facts and is internally consistent. (As well as setting up a parallel to pedophilia that conservative types use to imply connection. My impression at least is that pedophilia is no more a choice than any other sexual attraction, the people we think of as evil are the ones who act on it.)
I don’t at all get the “homosexuality itself is a choice” idea. I’ve known a lot of proud gay people, but I’ve also known some miserable gay people who would do anything to be straight. The idea that, say, teenagers would choose to join the group with the highest adolescent suicide rate in America floors me. It simply doesn’t make sense.
I’ve known gay people who led lonely lives for fear that telling their families the truth would mean they would be shunned by everyone who cares about them. I don’t get why anyone would choose that.
It’s a pretty standard conservative tactic to simply dismiss any scientific evidence that the arguer doesn’t agree with, so I’m sure the studies showing differences in brain chemistry don’t trouble the people who came up with this theory.
Some/Most of the people who make this argument are simply stupid, the sort of people who just don't think things through*. But my understanding is that there are rational people who feel this way.
What would be the motivation for the choice? Does anyone who grew up Conservative Christian know?
*I've asked the smartest social conservatives I know, none of whom read this blog, and gotten answers that were all either variations on the "genetic disease" theory or expressions of indifference to the sexual orientation itself, but desire to keep the laws as they are.