Chicago's DePaul University is conducting a study of gay male brothers, to see if they can pinpoint genetic factors linked with homosexuality. This isn't the first test of it's kind, or the last. This is supposedly the largest study of it's kind ever before conducted, with over 1,000 taking part in the testing. The hope for many of those who agreed to participate in the study is that by showing that homosexuality is linked to biological factors, people who believe it is a purely immoral choice will be swayed by scientific evidence to begin think otherwise.
As any proponent of scientific research, this test is an intriguing one. But there are some concerns, especially with the hope listed above. Although it's not the only reason people are helping with this study, it does drive some to participate, and it's saddening that many overlook the fact that the people they are trying to sway with a study like this will never be swayed, by even the most technically advanced, perfected science. The people they are trying to convince otherwise are the same people that think Jesus rode dinosaurs and women are naught but the rib marrow of an inferior Adam. They will not accept a "study," over a benevolent god, or a old passage in Leviticus anymore than they'll accept a sermon over thirty minutes on Super Bowl Sunday.
That is all humorous, and mostly tame. The people who cannot accept differences in people, and refuse to see the beauty in all peoples and orientations, are laughable.
But the report of this study (found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21309724/) explains a much more insidious problem with the results of this study. That being, if they do isolate some "gay-gene," then another issue rears it's ugly genetic head. Because the social acceptance will ultimately lag the discovery of the 'gay gene', (if it exists), people will still be stigmatized. Even straight people who identify themselves as accepting of the gay lifestyle would be leery to choose to have gay children, claiming: they wouldn't want their children discriminated against. These beliefs are categorically in error, but they unfortunately exist. This debate was rampant a few years back, when people realized they might be able to genetically manufacture children, and have parents choose eye color, height, etc. That was largely swept under the national mat, because the costs associated with such engineering are above and beyond most people's range, at least for now. But what's disturbing is a look at other cultures, and even past history, to determine where this social engineering via choosing baby traits might ultimately land us. China, and it's legislation towards population control has lead to the abortion of girl babies, or flat our abandonment of them, because they are not the "desirable" gender in Chinese culture, or at least to some. It's horrifying to think of what science can ultimately manufacture, while simultaneously applauding it's expansive and wonderful possibilities. Let's not make this a chapter from "The Giver," but perhaps it would be best if people gave it a quick re-read.
It seems too easy to believe their is one genetic pinpoint for determination of sexual orientation. But then again, environment can't be held to blame either. The idea of "orientation" itself is an anomaly - it can mean both finding one's position for oneself inside society, or being placed into society and given a role. One thing is certain - any group of society should not be so sectioned off and stigmatized that it leads to suicides, hate crimes, etc. Opinions lean towards hope that some genetic factors can be identified to help show that gays do have a predisposition. But if found, lets not mark these genetic factors as mutations - but simply natural differences. Genes can prove theories - they cannot change hearts and minds. That type of evolution takes place within the most elemental, and simultaneously most complicated of alleles.
Sidenote* - we have to wonder the true motives of this study, given it is "federally funded." Did it escape this catchall-administration's deep christian agenda-woven net, or is this study somehow connected to Bush's tactics in a closeted, department of justice kind of way? Well, if it is, who knows if they'll ever come out.