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Are gays ‘born that way’? Most Americans now say yes, but science says no

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PRINCETON, NJ, May 20, 2015 ( —

For the first time, a majority of Americans say that homosexuals are “born that way.”

According to the latest Gallup poll, 51 percent of Americans say that people are born gay or lesbian, while only 30 percent say outside factors such as upbringing and environment determine sexual orientation.

However, science would not bear that out. No fewer than eight major studies from around the world have found homosexuality is not a genetic condition.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council says that these numerous, rigorous studies of identical twins have now made it impossible to argue that there is a “gay gene.” If homosexuality were inborn and predetermined, then when one identical twin is homosexual, the other should be, as well.

Yet one study from Yale and Columbia Universities found homosexuality common to only 6.7 percent of male identical twins and 5.3 percent of female identical twins.

The low rate of common homosexuality in identical twins – around six percent – is easily explained by nurture, not nature.

Researchers Peter Bearman and Hannah Brueckner concluded that environment was the determining factor. They rejected outright that “genetic influence independent of social context” as the reason for homosexuality. “(O)ur results support the hypothesis that less gendered socialization in early childhood and preadolescence shapes subsequent same-sex romantic preferences.”

“Less gendered socialization” means, a boy was without a positive father figure, or a girl was without a positive mother figure.

In light of the evidence, Sprigg said simply, “No one is born gay.”

Psychiatrists William Byne and Bruce Parsons summarize the science: “Critical review shows the evidence favoring a biologic theory to be lacking. … In fact, the current trend may be to underrate the explanatory power of extant psychosocial models.” In other words, homosexuality is a psychological malady, not something people are born with.

Some homosexuals openly admit that their lifestyle is a choice. Lindsay Miller, who describes herself as a “queer woman,” complained in The Atlantic monthly, “I get frustrated with the veiled condescension of straight people who believe that queers ‘can’t help it,’ and thus should be treated with tolerance and pity.”

“I was not born this way,” she wrote. “The life I have now is not something I ended up with because I had no other options. Make no mistake – it’s a life I chose.”

“It’s time to send the ‘born that way’ myth to the graveyard of misbegotten ideas, buried in the plot next to the myth that the sun revolves around the earth,” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has written.

And yet, the myth continues to gain believers, even among conservatives. According to the new Gallup poll, Republicans are divided on whether Americans are born homosexual (40 percent) or whether same-sex orientation is determined by environmental factors (36 percent).

In previous polls, a majority of Republicans have said homosexuality is not innate. Now, according to this poll, they are equally likely to view sexual orientation as inherent, rather than a choice or a consequence of how people were raised. In all, 62 percent of Democrats believe homosexuals were born that way.

The issue affects Republican politicians who, like all politicians, base their public statements on the polls. Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson recently apologized for merely suggesting people choose to be gay or lesbian. Sen. Marco Rubio has said that, while he does not support same-sex “marriage,” he believes that people are born gay or lesbian.


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