New Insight into the (Epi)Genetic Roots of Homosexuality

Sexual preference may not be written in our genes, but rather in how our genes are expressed

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For an evolutionary biologist, homosexuality is something of a puzzle. It’s a common trait, found in up to 10% of the population. It appears to be run in families, suggesting that it is hereditary, at least in part. And yet it defies the very reason why traits are passed on from generation to generation. How could something that hinders childbearing be passed down so frequently from parents to children?

Researchers at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) think they may have an answer. It’s not in written in our DNA sequence itself, they suggest, which explains why scientists have failed so far to find “gay genes,” despite intensive investigations. Instead, it’s written in how our genes are expressed: that is, in certain modifications to how and when DNA is activated. These changes can have environmental roots, so are not normally permanent enough to be passed from parent to child. But occasionally, they are.

MORE: Of God and Gays and Humility

“It’s not genetics. It’s not DNA. It’s not pieces of DNA. It’s epigenetics,” says Sergey Gavrilets, a NIMBioS researcher and an author on the paper that outlines the new theory of homosexuality, published in The Quarterly Review of Biology.  “The hypothesis we put forward is based on epigenetic marks,” he says.

To be specific, the new theory suggests that homosexuality is caused by epigenetic marks, or “epi-marks,” related to sensitivity to hormones in the womb. These are compounds that sit on DNA and regulate how active, or inactive certain genes are, and also control when during development these genes are most prolific. Gavrilets and his colleagues believe that gene expression may regulate how a fetus responds to testosterone, the all-important male sex hormone. They further argue that epi-marks may help to buffer a female fetus from high levels of testosterone by suppressing receptors that respond to testosterone, for example, (thus ensuring normal fetal development even in the presence of a lot of testosterone) or to buffer a male fetus from low levels of testosterone by upregulating receptors that bind to the hormone (ensuring normal fetal development even in the absence of high levels of testosterone). Normally, these epi-marks are erased after they are activated, but if those marks are passed down to the next generation, the same epi-marks that protected a man in utero may cause oversensitivity to testosterone among his daughters, and the epi-marks that protected a woman in utero may lead to undersensitivity to testosterone among her sons.

MORE: New Volleys in the Gay Parenting Wars

Gavrilets says that some scientists have already expressed “strong interest” in new experiments that will test the hypothesis, attempting to estimate how often such epi-marks may arise among men and women, and how often they are saved from one generation to the next. The work might also explain the extent to which epi-marks can influence sexual behavior. While experimental evidence is lacking for now, Gavrilets says he is reasonably confident that the theory is sound.

“It’s compatible with the [existing] data. Plus it’s supported by mathematical modeling,” he says.

The new theory is important because it synthesizes well-tested and well-developed evolutionary principles with cutting-edge research in molecular biology and biological computation. Epigenetics is not a new concept exactly, but the field has exploded within the past decade. Where once it seemed that genes and environment were distinct, or that nature and nurture were distinct, now it seems clear that environment itself may change the ways in which our genes function – even though the genes themselves are essentially fixed over time, barring occasional mutations, and conserved across generations.

MORE: Do Children of Same Sex Parents Really Fare Worse?

For now, the work is still controversial. Gavrilets says he and his colleagues have been criticized both by conservatives, who weren’t happy with people searching for a biological basis to homosexuality, as well as by some in the gay and lesbian community, who feel they shouldn’t require a scientific investigation to justify who they are.

“It’s been a controversial topic,” Gavrilets says. “There is a lot of misconception in the world about the topic of homosexuality.” Still, he says, “One of the roles of science is to clear up misconceptions, to explain different phenomena or different patterns.”

188 comments
gods.commissioned
gods.commissioned

HERE SOME TRUTH FOR YOU LADIES AND GENTS

Homosexuality is a sin. It is a matter of choice. It is a result of unadulterated choices made by the homosexual or his or her parents. The choices are free of Epigenetic influence. How is that possible? God is omniscient. He knows the decisions one makes before he or she is born and gives a body as it pleases Him. A person chooses to be a homosexual, God then gives that person a body. If a parent had to decide to give their child an automobile and the parent knew the child would destroy the vehicle soon after he got it, would the parent give the child a new hummer worth thousands or a used vehicle worth a couple hundred. In the new testament there is a story of a man born blind. The disciples asked Jesus who sinned, THIS MAN or his parents that he was born blind. The first and foremost possibility was that the blind man committed a sin and as a result of that sin was born blind. The blind man was the exception to the rule because the reason he was born blind was for the glory of God; however the homosexual is not an exception to the rule and therefore are born blind as a result of their own sins. The president of the Southern Baptist Convention says Christians should prepare if it is proven, by the scientific community, that homosexuality is affected by the 'gay gene'. The evidence of a gay gene, or epigenetic influence does NOT mean Christians should prepare for anything. Homosexuality is a choice. Any type of epigenetic influence is a result of that choice.

FracturedLiberty
FracturedLiberty

This still doesn't exactly address the individuals who change their sexual orientation at some point in life. I've known personally several people of different ages and ethnic backgrounds that have gone from being straight to gay and vice versa. That alone shows a matter of choice.

And in this article they keep mentioning "environmental" influences. I'd like to know exactly what they mean by this. What constitutes as an environmental influence?

My opinion is that homosexuality is a choice BUT our brains are wired to view it as acceptable or unacceptable as we grow and develop and societal and environmental variables constantly come into play.

saldoczaidi
saldoczaidi

Homosexuality is the End, Fin, Finito of reproduction. Evolution cannot accept that. I do not condemn nor condone it. If two adults of the same gender wish to engage in a sexual act, so be it. It is their right to exercise their sexual preference. However, I do not condone them to adopt babies. Newborn babies need a mother and a father to imprint basic images and characteristics. In addition, the mother's milk provides the most important immunization to its offspring. No two women are alike. Each mother is unique for her baby. After the formative years have passed they could be allowed to become ward/s of same gender couples. 


kingbersalona
kingbersalona

@BobTait  Would straight couples be denied of marriage if gay couples marry?  The answer is a resounding no.  Your argument of "leave marriage alone" falls apart on that.  By denying gay people in a committed relationship the right to marry, you classifying them as second class citizens, especially those who are raising children.  What would you tell the kids of gay couples? Their parents are second class citizens?  You know what fine... let all gay people stay in the closet marry the opposite sex and have children with them, only to divorce them in the future, leaving those poor kids in a broken family situation.  Hope your wife, girlfriend, or whatever is not a closeted homosexual, trying to have a relationship with you just to have a "traditional" life, just to be considered a first class citizen.  "the anger will only continue" ... yeah right.. so much for beginning your comment with "the hate needs to stop"... common profile of a closeted bigot.

Kernwaarde
Kernwaarde

Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.

“At best genetics is a minor factor,” says Dr. Neil Whitehead, PhD. Whitehead worked for the New Zealand government as a scientific researcher for 24 years, then spent four years working for the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency. Most recently, he serves as a consultant to Japanese universities about the effects of radiation exposure. His PhD is in biochemistry and statistics.

Read more:

http://www.hollanddavis.com/?p=3647

BobTait
BobTait

The hate needs to stop but so does the movement of those who push for redefining traditional marriage in the name of "equality".  Gays should live their lives and their lifestyle without fear and persecution.  Traditional marriage is a time honored institution (although heterosexuals have gone a long ways toward tainting its high status) that stands unique in its role as the avenue for the propagation of the human species.  It stands unique in its role as the core entity of most, if not all, stable social structures.  Claiming the right to traditional marriage by gay and lesbian couples angers many who respect and honor traditional marriage for what it should be.  That anger will only continue and deepen when those who cannot fulfill its primary function demand the recognition of traditional marriage as if will suddenly change their "difference."  That saddens me.  Leave marriage alone.

JasonGreene
JasonGreene

Why all this dependance on the "Born this way" it is a poison argument in the end.  First people are wasting time trying to prove it or disprove it when in the end just because someone is born a certain way does not make what they do morally right. second if it's proven then there will be a race for a cure, and quite possibly the combination of the pro-choice movement would lead to wholesale abortions of any fetus that has the gay marker. 

One needs to stand up for the fact the you can chose who you love provided you're in a consensual relationship it's ok.

ebowaxx
ebowaxx

"...so are not normally permanent enough to be passed from parent to child." - So being gay is not normal?! You heard it, folks. It comes from the guys who gave you a round earth from a flat one!

BrianWebb
BrianWebb

This article is so poorly written as far as grammar goes, that I seriously question its legitimacy. Since when do journalists not care about their credibility as it is established by writing properly? This is ridiculous.

napoli66
napoli66

if you think being gay/lesbian is difficult, try being transgender! it's worse.  surgery, hormones, rejection, etc....

JamesHollon
JamesHollon

If I were gay, I think I would rather be a sinner to Christians, than a Genetic Mutant to everyone as this article suggests......

AnonForLance
AnonForLance

I'm simply amazed at how many commented (either embracing or refuting) on this research without even reading the paper.  And the same goes for the media, which mostly remains uninformed and just spins a portrayal to confirm preexisting bias. 

For example, Time states "It appears to be run in families, suggesting that it is hereditary, at least in part" and yet the actual paper summarizes the decades of research and concludes that "no convincing molecular genetic evidence has been found" as a putative cause of the phenomena of homosexuality.  

To quote the paper;

"However, despite numerous studies over the last decade searching for polymorphisms associated with homosexuality, no convincing molecular genetic evidence has been found despite the fact that pedigree and twin studies clearly show that homosexuality is familial (reviewed in Ngun et al. 2011). Homosexuality has also been hypothesized to be caused by nongenetic factors such as maternal antibodies against male-specific antigens (reviewed in Bogaert and Skorska 2011). This hypothesis may indeed explain some cases of homosexuality, but cannot account for most cases in men and none in women (Cantor et al. 2002). The poor correspondence between current models and data calls for a new conceptual framework to understand the evolution of homosexuality."

And then the paper goes on to attempt to provide such an alternative "proof", but merely in a hypothetical, mathematic sense.  Not in a scientific sense with the production of primary data.  The paper only proposes a theory that homosexuality is explained by epigenetics (i.e., not DNA), and they are not even the first.   

Still, the paper has some logical faults.  It delves into straw man debate tactics of discussing to exhaustion androgen mediated genital malformations, but leaves the reader to make the unsupported leap in logic that sexual orientation assignment is also "trait" akin to such physical abnormalities.  No where in the paper does it even dare breath any alternative theory, even while there exists increased neurobiology evidence that points to the real possibility that sexual orientation assignment in not immutable genetics, but is actually a habitualized behavior.  

Hard to blame.  They are geneticists and mathematicians ...not neurobehavioralist.  To the man with the hammer, all the world appears to be nails.  But there is another reason...we can't reject the possibility they left out discussion of the behavior alternative out of fear of reprisals from the PC goon squad.   

Of course, the goon squad might still be heard.  That is if they ever realize what they were reading.  For if one accepts this theory, one must likewise accept that there is now an open door to “treat” and the development of pharmaceutically mediated sexual orientation reassignment therapy.  After all, medicine already has multiple treatments that provide their effect by modulating epigenetics in vivo (e.g., HDAC inhibitors).

zerozerootto
zerozerootto

Try telling someone  who's gay they chose there sexuality - Thats why they chose to be different and risk prejudice and violence and imprisonment in some societies - Even some churches now accept it or say be gay but don't practice it. Its becuase of prjudice we have the problem - We are all conditioned to pick at what doesn't seem the norm even the little things like looks and dress and hair style so lets face it a lot cant stand gay 

JamesHeymansRandall
JamesHeymansRandall

You know what is really silly, is that it took experts and professional scientists to figure out what anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of genetics would understand. Begs the question, is there still a nature vs nurture debate going on in the science world, if so, why? First year biology clearly taught me that it is nature and nurture, not one or the other.

Raphaelark
Raphaelark

You all need to do some more research and stop being narrow minded... Religion was talking about this thousands of years before you were all born. And for all of you CHRISTIANS who just repeat what your priest are saying about homosexuality, you should really start reading the BIBLE in its original and its intended way. Homosexuality was a GIFT from god in order for humanity to UNDERSTAND itself better. They the "STRANGE FLESH", the angels or the force of WISDOM sent in order to message love and understanding were the ones in which heterosexual took and abused(SODOM AND GOMORRAH). Just take a second and ask yourself why Art through out the centuries displays angels as an Androgynous spirits. 

*GNOSIS*---->IS THE KEY TO ALL EXPLANATIONS OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT=======> LOOK IT UP!!! RESEARCH ALL ITS SOURCES 

The early gnostics MOSES, JESUS, ABRAHAM, NOAH, DAVID, SOLOMON, ect......

The Modern Gnostics Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vincii, Michelangelo, George Washington   

 : They knew what the F. they were talking about & if we keep rolling in our own human pollution by HATING (as we have had for the past millennia) we are not going anywhere. WE AS HUMANITY HAVE TO START PREACHING LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE FOR ALL!!!

I am CHRISTIAN, I Am Straight, I am a Jesuit, I have studies on the BIBLE + HEBREW SCRIPTURE + THE SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN INTERACTIONS & GNOSTICISM : METAPHYSICS  (I am unbiased: I just want this hatred and violence to stop)  

and I HAD A FRIEND and he killed himself right infront of me because he gave up on love ( yes he was homosexual and he wanted to find someone. Someone who would love him(not just have sex with), understand him, and he like all of us-- wanted to die with someone at his side...  the miscommunication and misunderstanding that history has left throughout time has polluted our natural senses.WE HAVE BECOME THE CANCER... the cells that are unable to communicate and finally if we don't start applying the medicine(KNOWLEDGE THROUGH LOVE) we will eventually die.

 RELIGION.SCIENCE.HISTORY. ===> ALL INTERTWINE (OPEN YOUR HEART & STAR LOOKING FOR ANSWERS) 

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

Anam and others - I suppose a decent argument can be made for stating that homosexuality is a genetic disorder.

However, it seems it is a rather benign genetic disorder and if it is benign you religious fools do not need to outlaw it... Keep your stupid faith out of other people's bedrooms. These folks are not harming anybody. I would much rather see the religious persecuted do to their beliefs causing more damage than gays have ever done.

AlpentrudelAlpi
AlpentrudelAlpi

There haven't been any big genetic studiesy about male homoseuals. I'm speaking about serious genetic analysis done by more than 2000 gays. SAuch studies DO NOT exist. So they lie clearly when they say it was investigated!

Elpid Refuerzo Cruz
Elpid Refuerzo Cruz

The human race will be wiped out....think SODOM and GOMORRAH...sodomy is sexual perversion....

amazonbaby57
amazonbaby57

After reading all these comments, it seems when the epigenetic mark is activated for homosexuality in the womb, that the accompanying epigenetic mark for not being able to make comments without personal insults and belittling condenscendation was activated, too!  

elotrolado8
elotrolado8

What "causes"  homosexualities, as if there is any 1 single cause, is a question to also then, if you must, ask of what "causes" heterosexuality.  The author asks "how could something that hinders childbearing be passed down so frequently from parents to children?"  Oh, please, tell that to the hundreds of thousands of same gender couples with children.  And for those queer folk without children, perhaps there is something life giving  (creation beyond literally bearing children) in NOT bearing children and being freed up to utilize their special gifts to contribute to the culture and community in other ways which is what queer people have ALWAYS done.

Recoloniser
Recoloniser

I read about a study elsewhere which found that the probability of a male to be gay increased exponentially with the number of older male siblings he has.  This effect is, conjecturally, attributed to a resistance building up in the womb of a woman carrying a male foetus.  This increase of resistance would be incremental, i.e. go up at each male child pregnancy.  The effect of the resistance would then be the switching on of a gene  the foetus has inherited from either parent that causes him to be sexually oriented towards his own gender.

The authors claim that, whilst the mechanism described above is as yet purely conjectural, the basic effect, the increase of homosexuality of younger siblings with older brothers, has been positively identified and proven to be statistically significant.

epitygxanwn
epitygxanwn

If this article still quotes the old, discredited 10% figure, then we cannot count on scientific accuracy anywhere else in the article That 10% figure comes from early researchers following extremely sloppy sampling procedures. People quote it all the time, but no one has bothered to correct the sloppy sampling methods and put it on more solid ground.

datraveller
datraveller

@FracturedLiberty 'Known'? Dude seriously you may have been an acquaintance but you certainly did not know them at all. Sleeping with someone of the same sex does not make you attracted to men and therefore does not make you 'homosexual'. I slept with woman, some very hot and incredibly nice people - with time I could not bear to sleep with them - although I knew they were hot as per society, enjoyed the company and naturally enjoyed the sexual experience when it happened but in between I just wasn't bothered and had more important things to do - I actually never had any sexual desire for them I was just doing what I knew would satisfy me, and well subconsciously society.  


Being South African I became super liberal because I hated the racists of the past and thus embraced any kind of liberalness. Then one day when a dude asked me if I would kiss him I said no, he said why? I felt pretty stupid because I had no reason not to (I mean if a fat chick asked you to kiss her and you said no then you suddenly realised you could say it's because you fat - you'd give her a peck - no?) plus I was about 15 beers down so I agreed and let's just say it did not end there. The next day I thought I would want to jump off a building but instead I was like hmm wow too much beer but I really did seem to enjoy that - a whole lot more than with any of the ladies?! So being pragmatic I stayed sober all day and did not accept one drink, then that night I asked him for lift and I just could resist kissing him.


I left the country few days later and kind of put it down to too much alcohol even though I had proved to myself that when I kissed him sober I still felt the same way. Anyway, while abroad I dated the most incredible Swedish girl but all along this guy just stuck in my head. I just wanted to know what he was doing and if I would ever feel that way about anyone again. 


Fast forward 2 years, I told everyone what had happened and how I had realised what to be attracted (and in love) really was - I then started dating men and within 3 months I had met the man of my 'dreams'. We are now engaged to be married and plan to adopt soon - so no this was not a choice but a freakn awesome realisation I am just thankful I had.


PS in hindsight I was always attracted to men but I just told myself I was staring at them because I was jealous of their bodies lol

Sass
Sass

@FracturedLiberty someone hasn't heard of the whole issue where people, especially from the 20s through the 80s, were persecuted for being gay, so they felt as though they had to cover it up by getting married.  Hell, even people who never got married were thought to be gay, so even though people didn't want to be married - no matter their orientation - they got married to avoid the stigma.  


I am straight, not that it matters, but when I was younger I worked at a horse farm.  Four out of seven of my coworkers were out and at least one was closeted.  Two of them were GRANDFATHERS who had been part of the group worried about being ostracized or physically harmed if they came out when they were younger.


Again, your OPINION, not FACT, nor EXPERIENCE, makes you believe it is a choice.


I am straight.  It is not a choice.

DianneCarrol
DianneCarrol

@saldoczaidi Homosexuality is found in ALL SPECIES on this planet including insects.  it is normal and nature in nature.  There is no greater proof than that. Mother nature does not lie.

datraveller
datraveller

@saldoczaidi I'll humour you so yes in a perfect world all babies will have loving parents with different gender roles so that they can be well rounded and drink lots of breast milk. However, this is the real world with over 2 million orphans in South Africa alone - these children are lucky to share a bead and a care worker, let along have a dedicated parents of any sex to look after them!


My adopted children will have 2 awesome loving dad's ( one of them a Doctor who will give them all the immunisations they need), 2 loving grandmas, 2 loving grandpas, a female nanny and 6 aunts and uncles - so believe me they will be well rounded, loved and immunised.


Now stop spreading your hate and go encourage adoption by any loving individual - there are over 2 million orphans in SA dying for A parent.

ups194113
ups194113

@saldoczaidi Man, you are so out there it's ridiculous. Like children raised by a single mother or single father are doomed to failure. Like there are no babies out there that never taste their mothers milk, but only formula.

conbar777
conbar777

@kingbersalona @BobTait "Would straight couples be denied of marriage if gay couples marry?" Absolutely, if after thousands of years of social evolution, marriage constituted a union between two human being of the same gender or a man and his dog, then any deviation from this tradition would by definition not be "marriage."  The reality, however, is that the tradition of marriage has evolved independently in every human culture over thousands of years as a committed union between a man and woman and any deviation from this tradition is self evidently not marriage.  The traditions that form the foundations of our societies cannot, as you insinuate, be cast as on a whim to reflect fleeting fascinations of contemporaneous values.  

CharlotKlamainte
CharlotKlamainte

@dustinmorris8  

American Psychological Association:

“There’s no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic , hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permits scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.“

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists:

“No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality. There’s a renewed interest in searching for biological etiology (causes) for homosexuality. However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.

Dr. Gene Robinson, Director of the Neuroscience Program at University of Illinois:

“As much as people like to divide themselves into nature or nurture camps, what genes actually do in the brain reflects the interaction between hereditary and environmental information.”   

Ari
Ari

@BobTait The heterosexual married couples who can't have children or have simply decided not to should get divorced since they cannot/will not fulfill its primary function.  They are obviously disrespecting the high status of traditional marriage as well, no?

skitch1137
skitch1137

@BrianWebb  

Read almost any article in Yahoo News. There is no longer a premium on proper English.

BigJeff333
BigJeff333

@JamesHollon - Varying eyes, skin color, hair, height etc. are all genetic mutations.  What's one more?  Red hair could get you burned as a witch during the Spanish Inquisition...

RobFrey
RobFrey

@Raphaelark I am sorry you had to witness your friends final blow with his pain.   It's not an easy life but for me it is the gift of life and the chance everyday to do the next right thing i wake up for.  God is very much a part of my life and always will be.  I am his creation how could i not be loved by my maker. I ask daily for gods will for me to be shown to me and am grateful for the blessings of doing his work.  

I have no clue why i am the way i am but i am a creature of god and am gay, boy i sure begged him to take it away when i figured it out.  Hell i didn't know what gay was till i was 14 and flipped out and god wanted no part of taking it away.  I love life and after years of prayer, begging i woke up one day and it was as if my prayers were answered and realized  and accepted this is just  part of who i am.   It really makes no difference why to me,  Now my parents on the other hand the rejection of coming out at 17 in 1986 in a Catholic family.  I didn't go to college because of it after high school they completely rejected me at first. I could not get away fast enough.  We have long since reconciled but it was not a spoken reconciliation.  Two years ago my Cousin has a daughter that came out at 20 and went to my mom for advice, my mom said don't do what we did with Rob. My cousin told me this and i was shocked and filled with gratitude and love. It didn't matter how it came i was told 27 years later it doesn't matter i am her son i already knew of course but  my mom doesn't talk about feelings.  If it's not written in a card she can't say it.    

AnonForLance
AnonForLance

@Raphaelark   I know your pain, and sense you are still hurting.  I too am a heterosexual Christian, who also has had a good friend kill himself.  He was a skilled physician.  And he was in a homosexual relationship.  He killed himself as he accepted for himself a reality of a world where he felt unaccepted and alone.  But his real fatal flaw was that he also accepted for himself that homosexuality must be an immutable trait, even though it was a trait that he did not want. 

Look, we are all biased.  While the topic is biology, you (and many others here) focus on theology.  (To be frank, I find your claims far afield of Jesuit teachings, and rather baseless given you are unable to provide a single verse from any text as support.)  My bias is biology, given years of study of androgens and neurobehavior, that sexual orientation is more likely a habitualized behavior, akin to psychological addictions like gambling.  Yet habitualized behavior can be changed.  Even if you don't agree with the habitualized behavior, and would rather accept the epigenetic cause, if one accepts the paper, one must also accept that it might be pharmacologically treatable one day, given there are already many epigenetic trageting medicines.

The need for understanding and love is universal.  Acceptance of all people, yes.  But acceptance of all behaviors, no.  And acceptance of abnormal genetics or epigentics; need not be required either.  To accept ones habitualized behavior - or epigentics - or even genetics, as immutably and that it is what defines us, and that it must be accepted by us even if we don’t want to, is, well, truly sad and confused. 

RobFrey
RobFrey

@Elpid Refuerzo Cruz Oh we will be wipe out alright but only by the hatred filled folk like you.  I'd sure like to know the day God as you understand him gave you the right to judge me on my ability to commit my life and love to another man as a sin.  Commitment is between two people not any dam piece of paper or the church. 

Bearthoven
Bearthoven

@Elpid Refuerzo Cruz   The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not caused by homosexuality.  Isaiah 3:8-9 (their tongues and evil doings), Jeremiah 23:14 (adultery and walk in lies), Ezekiel 16:46-56 (pride, gluttony, sloth, greed and uncharitable towards the poor, and haughtiness), Matt 11:23 (hard hearts and inhospitality) etc.  The greatest sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was their inhospitality to strangers, rape, bestiality, and all the above listed.  Not one time in the bible was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah listed as homosexuality. 

JamesHeymansRandall
JamesHeymansRandall

@Elpid Refuerzo Cruz the human 'species' will be wiped out by a large enough solar flare anyway, I am pretty sure we won't go extinct if 10 or even 20% of the population is gay, there is no gene exchange, so there is really no reason why those numbers would increase, of course, if there is an evolutionary advantage to having a larger gay population (think population balancing) then those numbers may increase.

JamesHeymansRandall
JamesHeymansRandall

@Recoloniser or it could be growing up in a situation where there are few, if any, females around to interact with, it is sort of a psychological defence mechanism in a way maybe, I had a friend with two female dogs, and one would always mount the other, could be a social cohesion skit

AnonForLance
AnonForLance

@epitygxanwn Yes, Time is playing loose with the stats in this article ...  and even the subject paper talks of the Australia paper with about 8% but there a many survey bias in that study that were not controlled for (urban / rural, etc.)

CharlotKlamainte
CharlotKlamainte

@Sass @FracturedLiberty  

American Psychological Association:

“There’s no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic , hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permits scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.“

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists:

“No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality. There’s a renewed interest in searching for biological etiology (causes) for homosexuality. However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.

Dr. Gene Robinson, Director of the Neuroscience Program at University of Illinois:

“As much as people like to divide themselves into nature or nurture camps, what genes actually do in the brain reflects the interaction between hereditary and environmental information.”   

Recoloniser
Recoloniser

@JamesHeymansRandall @Recoloniser This is difficult to distinguish, though.  It is well known that both men and women will have sex with members of their own gender when there is a dearth of those of the opposite sex.  Hence Winston Churchill's famous dictum about the traditions of the Navy being "rum, sodomy and the lash".  But that is not the same as homosexuality.  Nor is a homosexual person who has sex with someone of the opposite gender thereby suddenly heterosexual.  This is the difference between behaviour and nature.  We observe homosexual behaviour in animals, a lot.  Just walk by a field of heifers and you'll see.  But we can't ask them whether they actually *are* homosexual and since they (the heifers) don't get a lot of choice in their sex lives later on, we cannot deduce it from their consistent behaviour either.

Recoloniser
Recoloniser

@JamesHeymansRandall @Recoloniser No, that is not what I meant.  In humans we can distinguish between real homosexual orientation and incidental homosexual activity because we can communicate and therefore ask.  Also, since humans are free agents, we can see from consistent behaviour what a person's sexual orientation is.

We cannot ask animals what their sexual orientation is and with domestic animals we have limited their (sexual) freedom so that their behaviour cannot be said to be a reliable indicator of their sexual orientation.  Whether there are studies of animals in the wild, I don't know.  I seem to recall that homosexual activity between young males who have banded together after being banished from their birth pride or herd does occur regularly.  But that would seem to be temporary, whilst they don't have a harem of females of their own.  I have no idea whether lasting homosexual bonds have been observed in wild animals.  In short, we cannot know, at this moment, how sexual orientation in animals works.  Since we don't know, the claim that homosexuality is unnatural because it doesn't occur in animals cannot be sustained.