In an article about the Evergreen conference held for LDS members dealing with the conflict between same-sex attracted persons and the teachings of the Mormon Church, much attention was paid to the views of the keynote speaker, Alan Chambers. Unlike other articles which have quoted Chambers, quite a bit of attention was paid to his concession that there may be a genetic basis to orientation.
In years past, such ministries were “afraid to give any credence toward the argument that (homosexuality) could be genetic. Today, we don’t think there is any harm in saying we’re genetically made people — it’s something that factors into our development.”
While Chambers believes scientists may one day find a conclusive link between genetics and homosexuality, “in my opinion, that will never be something that forces someone to be gay or straight. Far more goes into it than just that,” including developmental and psychological factors that have already been definitively linked to sexual orientation.
Chambers, who said he overcame his own unwanted homosexuality, was Evergreen’s keynote speaker on Friday. He believes that no matter how sexual orientation develops, “the fact is people who are highly motivated and want to find a way out can. … Often activists try to prove that people can’t change, and on the other side you have some Christian ministries trying to derail the genetic argument.
“We need to come to some common ground. People have the right to choose how they want to live their lives. I didn’t choose to feel gay, but I did choose to overcome it,” he said. “I think it’s important to support what science brings about. And if a scientific link to genetics is proven someday, that doesn’t mean we can’t change.”
However, buried in the middle is a claim that is downright false: that developmental and psychological factors have been definitively linked to sexual orientation.
Definitively? Not even close.
And while it is true that a genetic link does not automatically exclude the possibility of change, it does make anti-gay political activism more difficult. One might conclude that if one acknowledges a genetic basis to orientation, then it would be immoral to lobby against equal treatment for gay people.
Just a thought.