Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is Sexuality Chosen?

And does it matter?

The conventional wisdom says no sexuality isn't a choice and yes it does matter. The most extreme argument goes something like this: Being gay isn't a choice, it's genetic, just like race. We don't accept racial discrimination and we shouldn't accept discrimination based on sexual orientation.

I accept that sexual preference isn't a "choice." I further accept that sexual preference is at least strongly influenced by genetic factors (twin studies point to this conclusion, at least for males). But I'm not convinced that it should affect one's moral judgment of the behavior. After all, I don't think the people making this argument would only accept those gays found to be genetically gay and reject those who were not. Nor would people abandon objections to rape if scientists found a rape gene.

But maybe there is something to this being one of many points in favor of the morality (or amorality) of homosexuality. But, at the minimum, I think the power of this argument is overstated. In a thread over at The Volokh Conspiracy the comments drifted toward this question. I was less equivocal there, but mostly to get people thinking. Check it out if the debate interests you (link).

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