After my last column, I got an e-mail from retired FBI agent Bob Hamer. Bob’s the author of a riveting new book that takes you undercover with him into the world of drug bosses, hit men, and his last assignment, the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). After I sent him a copy of my new book on same-sex marriage, he wrote back:
“Thanks so much for sharing your book. It was powerful and I need to re-read it because it said so much. It actually brought back memories of the NAMBLA conferences I attended. I listened to men justify oral sex on 18 month olds. How often I listened to men claim their pedophilia was an inborn trait; it was natural, ‘this is the way God made me.’”
This “born that way” argument is fueling the case for same-sex marriage in California. Is it a good argument?
I know this is a difficult and emotional issue for many people, but I think the reasonable answer is no. Not only is the evidence for being “born that way” questionable, even if it were true, it should have no impact on our marriage laws.
First, after many years of intense research, a genetic component to homosexual desires has not been discovered. Twin studies show that identical twins do not consistently have the same sexual orientation. In fact, genetics probably explains very little about homosexual desires. How would a homosexual “gene” be passed on? Homosexuals don’t pass on anything because they don’t reproduce.
Second, the “born-that-way” claim is an argument from design— “since God designed me with these desires, I ought to act on them.” But the people who say this overlook something more obvious— they were also born with a specific gender. This raises the question: Why are you following your desires but not your gender? After all, we’re not sure if your desires were designed or the result of your upbringing, but we are certain that your anatomy is designed. So why not follow your anatomy rather than your desires? Ignoring your desires may be uncomfortable, but ignoring the natural design of your body is often fatal.
Frank Turek is coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. See more of his work at CrossExamined.org.