“So, if homosexuals aren’t born that way, and it’s not a choice, then where does that leave those who experience homosexual desires? It leaves them in exactly the same place it leaves every person on the planet. We all experience desires we don’t choose. Everyone is accountable for those desires.”
(Alan Shelmon – Stand to Reason) The discussion about homosexual desire is too often oversimplified and seldom given appropriate nuance. For example, many people in Western culture frame the debate as, “You’re either born gay or it’s your choice.” Such an oversimplification leads to two immediate mistakes.
First, it wrongly assumes that those are the only two possible explanations for same-sex attraction. Since one side states almost axiomatically that no one chooses who they are attracted to, the only remaining option is that some people are born with an “orientation” that results in sexual desire for the same sex.
The second mistake is assuming that if you’re born gay (and, therefore, didn’t choose your “orientation”), you are not accountable for the desires that flow from that orientation. Many Westerners adopt this view and, consequently, believe it’s permissible to satisfy same-sex desires through homosexual relationships.
Now, I’ve argued in the past that I don’t believe homosexual desires are something anyone is born with. There is now even more data that supports that claim. In fact, even notable researchers who identify as gay and lesbian agree. This debate is largely irrelevant now, though. The born-this-way claim served its purpose in convincing culture to ground same-sex marriage to civil rights and recognize same-sex unions as a legitimate legal form of marriage.