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Jewish World Review Oct. 21, 2004 / 6 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Julia Gorin

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The Gay Question | At the final presidential debate last week, George W. Bush came up with the smartest answer yet to the question of whether homosexuality is a choice or something one is born with: "I don't know."

There is perhaps only one smarter answer: "It depends."

Because it depends whether you choose it, or whether you're born that way.

A common refrain among those who promote the idea that people are born gay is, "Why would anyone choose this?"

Well, probably because he or she moved to New York. Although that can be the cause or the effect, depending on who you are. (Someone who is gay in Utah or Wyoming was most likely born that way, but he or she is also most likely planning a move to Greenwich Village or the Castro District in San Francisco.) The more serious answer, however, to why someone would choose to be gay is that society is telling him or her that it's normal, that being gay isn't a deviation from anything ("What is normal, anyway?"), that homosexuality is as equal and legitimate a sexual orientation as heterosexuality. Indeed, this legitimacy is in the process of being codified into law. Which means that already confused and Prozac-over-prescribed kids will be growing up with homosexuality presented as an equal and legitimate option. Whether it's a choice now or not, it's about to officially become one.

But there's another reason someone might choose homosexuality: When you've tried every drug there is, had three wives and gone through everyone in the Playboy Mansion, what else is there to do? It's the next logical step on a decadent path. That's why, given society's current state of confusion about homosexuality, the preliminary question to ask is, "Are people born bisexual, or do they choose it?" This is the question that can put us on the path to answering the gay one.

Bob Schieffer's wasn't a yes or no question. But that didn't stop John Kerry from trying to show his opponent up by just saying yes (talk about simplistic), then quickly reminding us that Dick Cheney's daughter can't help being a big ol' dyke. As usual, Kerry's answer backfired: cited Professor Warren Throckmorton, an authority on sexual orientation research at Pennsylvania's Grove City College, as being flooded with outraged reaction to Kerry's remarks by ex-homosexuals. Throckmorton told CNS, "Kerry's views, unfortunately, present a view of homosexuality that science does not support. Bush, wisely, has reserved judgment and his views are closer to where science has progressed to at this point."

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In a letter written to the president by Alan Chambers — who is the executive director of Exodus International, a Christian ministry that counsels homosexuals — Chambers wrote, "We all have a choice to do what is best, and with regard to acting on my homosexual feelings and inclinations, I did not choose God's best for me or for society when I chose to act upon them…However, I did finally choose to live beyond those feelings and today I am not a homosexual nor am I tempted to be one."

I recall an acquaintance who was up in the air about whether it would be boys or girls for him, finally settling on, "I dig chicks, man," before giving up men and getting married very soon after making that choice. Let's also not forget about the defiant "I'm attracted to people, not gender" prototype. These are the folks who feel they have an equal and legitimate choice between going for the opposite sex and the same sex, but aren't going to trouble themselves to decide one way or the other. Still, this non-choice is a lot closer to a choice than to a predisposition at birth.

The question "Why would anyone choose this life?" is posed most often rhetorically, with a degree of self-righteousness, the questioner gushing with empathy if he isn't gay and with victimhood if he is. The implication is that being gay is not a good or even a neutral thing, and that begs the next question: Why are we normalizing it? So that even more kids can join the ranks of the confused, counseled and medicated than have to?

Sexuality by its nature is a corruptible thing. Unfortunately, contemporary society encourages its corruption ("You should experiment!") One doesn't need the religious journey that Mr. Chambers took to understand that not all the outer reaches of our sexuality have to be explored, much less accepted, much less celebrated, much less legally sanctioned.

What we can conclude for now, Mr. Schieffer, is that some people are born gay, and some are just amoral.

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JWR contributor Julia Gorin tours with Right Stuff Comedy and performs in the monthly New York-based show Republican Riot. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2004, Julia Gorin