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Can 'true Catholics' support same-sex marriage?
Ex-priest Jim Smith, opponent of Minnesota's ballot to ban same-sex marriages, says these are difficult days to be Catholic.
June 20th, 2012
09:35 AM ET

Can 'true Catholics' support same-sex marriage?

By Chris Welch, CNN

Minneapolis (CNN) - Jim Smith is a former Roman Catholic priest who left his post with the church 10 years ago. He's an ex-priest for several reasons, he says, but one of his main concerns was the church's stance against same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues.

But Smith remains a Catholic - though he says being a Catholic who actively campaigns for legalized same-sex marriages can be difficult these days.

"I'd much rather this wasn't happening," Smith says of the division that the issue has created among Minnesota  Catholics. "But it does provide some real opportunities because it challenges us to talk to each other, Catholics talking to other Catholics."

Minnesota has become the newest epicenter in the same-sex marriage fight. This November, voters will decide whether they want an amendment added to the state's constitution that would ban marriage between members of the same sex.

Smith will be voting "no." And he has helped spearhead efforts in the state to persuade other Catholics to do the same.

A group he helped form,  Catholics for Marriage Equality-Minnesota, aims "to encourage Catholics to consider the profound sacredness of same-gender relationships and to defeat this marriage amendment," Smith says.

Vatican edicts against same-sex marriage often give Catholic same-sex marriage supporters the impression they're in the minority.

Related story: Same-sex marriage by the numbers 

But a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggests 59% of American Catholics support rights allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. One reason behind that statistic - says PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones - is because U.S. Catholics "overwhelmingly reject the idea that sexual orientation can be changed." A PRRI poll bears that out – with 69% of Catholics nationwide saying a person's sexual orientation cannot be changed.

In the Midwest alone, Catholics are evenly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage -– with 46% in favor, 47% against.

Opinion: GOP support for same-sex marriage growing

Related story: Both sides re-energized for upcoming same-sex marriage fight

Like Jim Smith, Michelle LaFrance is a Catholic who has also taken the bold step against the church in support of marriage equality.

"I remember thinking 'wow, maybe I shouldn't [remain a Catholic],' " LaFrance said. Ultimately they've remained with the Catholic faith, citing its many positive aspects including going to church. It's an important weekly ritual for LaFrance, her husband and their three kids.

"The Catholic Church, despite the media [attention] it typically gets, does a lot of great things, a lot of great social justice," LaFrance said. She noted the church "feeds the poor, houses the homeless, takes care of the abused."

The LaFrance family belongs to the Church of St. Margaret Mary in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley, a congregation which LaFrance describes as fairly progressive. She says the majority of her fellow parishioners agree with her stance on same-sex marriage.

But when LaFrance hears the archdiocese telling people how they should think about it, she can't help but sometimes feel like less of a Catholic.

"I don't think anybody - whatever their religious denomination - whole-heartedly follows every single rule down to the letter."

Related story: U.S. history of same-sex marriage

On the other side of the debate stands Dave Deavel.

Although he agrees with LaFrance to an extent, he says he believes there are certain pillars of the Catholic faith that people should follow. One of those is the church stance that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.

"The whole point of what the church teaches is to form people's consciences," Deavel says.

For Deavel, his wife and their five children, attending church is so important they strive to go multiple times a week.

He's active with Minnesota for Marriage, which supports of the same-sex-marriage ban, and has written various blog posts on the topic for the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Asked whether he believes a person can be "less of a Catholic" for disagreeing with the church, Deavel says the Vatican "doesn't really have a certain category for 'less of a Catholic.' "

"But they certainly don't represent what the church teaches," he said. "Is it a spiritual problem? I think yes."

Opinion: The secret gay agenda

In a written statement the MCC said groups such as Catholics for Marriage Equality "do not have any right to call their organizations 'Catholic.'"

In the past, the conference has issued statements accusing Catholics for Marriage Equality of trying "to confuse Catholics and the public about authentic church teaching" on marriage.

"Catholics for Marriage Equality MN attempts to convince Catholics that they can be in good standing with the church and oppose church teaching about human sexuality and marriage, which centers on the complementarity of the sexes and the mutual self-gift of loving spouses in marital union," said an MCC statement.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis declined CNN's request for an interview, but it agreed with sentiments expressed by the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Does church doctrine make it impossible for same-sex marriage supporters to be true Catholics?

"There is no judgment intended about an individual's 'Catholicity' or 'Catholic-ness,' " says MCC spokeswoman Jessica Zittlow.

Minnesota's November ballot proposal to ban same-sex marriage isn't an amendment against LGBT individuals, say the MCC and the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese. Instead, they say it should strictly be viewed as an amendment supporting traditional marriage.

For ex-priest Jim Smith, grappling with the issue has been difficult - a personal struggle that extends to the heart of his faith.

The inner conflict between what Smith believes is right and his love for the church has pushed him to consider leaving the Catholic religion altogether.

In the end, Smith vows he will stay. "It's in my bones."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith • Minnesota • Politics • Polls • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (2,849 Responses)
  1. Pepsi

    Ok i have argued enough for now. I just wanted to show that Atheist who are the first ones to support gay marriages by the church and that both Atheist and gays who don't believe in God are just two type of hypocrites.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • John

      Interesting since many in the population are for gay marriage (including the survey results of the Roman Catholics) so where does atheism enter the big picture?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Pepsi

      I drink Coke.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Pepsi

      You are making this a major church thing, i'm not talking about the support of gay priest only, i;m talking about the Atheist people world wide who are supporting this.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Ingy

      Very few gay proponents of gay marriage want to wed in the church. Most know that the church is off limits to them and always has been.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  2. firebrand

    This article is a joke .... what do you mean by "true Catholics"? This is nowhere defined in the article. If one is Catholic and supports gay marriage, he is in disunion with what the Catholic Church teaches. He would be supporting a heretical belief. Supporters of such beliefs are called "heretics". Look it up in the dictionary. Common sense would seem to indicate that the concept of a "heretic" and a "true Catholic" would be incompatible. But again, the term "true Catholic" is fuzzy, and in this context does not really mean much.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Can True Catholics Be Rational?

      So what you are saying is that heretics are rational. Got it.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Agnes

      So they feed the poor and house the homeless! What do they do for the many thousands of gay kids who are kicked out of their Catholic homes for being gay? They are after all the church that sets the tone for these parents behavior of intolerance for their own children.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • firebrand

      What's amazing is that there is so little reason being applied in these responses ... "Can True Catholics Be Rational?" is happy just to troll, and Agnes charges into a puerile non sequitur.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  3. ankenyman

    The short answer is, "no." The Catholic Church has always taught that gay marriage is wrong. See more on this subject and Catholic news and commentary on catholicurrent.com.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Thad

      Do we have to?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  4. Stuff

    http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/born-gay

    June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  5. Stuff

    Proof: http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/born-gay

    June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  6. Mike

    Of course they can.! They just need to stop being hypocrits! much like they have about adultery. In the bible... It clearly states that any man that marries and then divorces and re-marries is STILL COMITTING ADULTERY!! Even Jesus said that! But how many Catholics actually believe this? Look at the divorce rate of Catholics. Isn't it funny how the bible gets twisted to meet whatever the needs are at the time. It's not coincidence silly billys! It's called discrimination and hypocrasy in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • One one

      Actually, it is people created gods and religions to suite their needs.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  7. HeavenSent

    Catholics are not Christian. They worship a wh ore over Jesus.

    Amen.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
      -Abraham Lincoln

      June 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • MrApplesauce

      That's ok. Evangelicals and Born-Agains put Jesus over God.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Papi Mike

      "the measure in which you judge others will be the same measure you will be judged" ...Amen!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • nottolate

      Thats actually quite true. It amazes me how with all this information at our fingertips so few people know that.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And themselves over Jesus...

      June 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • nottolate

      Mr. Applesauce,

      Jesus is God. Nor can you be an authentic evangelical Christian without being born again.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • ankenyman

      What an unbelievable ignoramus.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • ladymarchhare

      Gonna have to wonder whether Jesus appreciates his mother being called that no matter the poster's misogyny?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Ingy

      There are about 22 million Mexicans named Mary who can't keep there legs closed from boys named Jesus.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • IAmJesus

      Jesus is god. lol. Sooooo.... a guy one day spoke to himself and said, jesus, i mean self, I want you to go on a suicide mission to earth but dont worry they cant kill you because you are really me. But its gonna hurt you for 3 days, I mean me... shi* now even I am confused. I mean you. To save those people and remind them about me, no you, because although I can create an entire universe I need praise for my works... Yes I am a narcissist/gregarious ... yes god, you, no me have problems too. What you think im doing this out of the goodness of my heart?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Bet

      Hey, pea soup, you're wrong. Catholics don't worship Mary or any saints. They honor and pray to them as a mediator between humanity and god. Worship is reserved for god, but prayer can be directed to god or any of the saints. It's taught that way in catechism from early childhood, and it's an absolute in catholic doctrine.

      Granted, the distinction between honoring and worshiping is blurry. It's even more difficult to teach a six year old the difference. And there's very little about Mary in the bible, so there's not much actual scriptural support for putting her in a position of honor, other than that she was supposedly impregnated by god and gave birth to the son of god. But a lot of scripture is blurry too, that's why there's so much disagreement about what the bible really says.

      I was raised in a devout catholic home, went to twelve years of parochial school and taught in a catholic school for five years. I'm sure that's not good enough for you, but I think that most people reading this will take it as a little more authoritative than just declaring that catholics worship a wh.ore. And what I am saying can be corroborated by a quick search.

      Then again, you just seem to enjoy trolling, so whatever.

      R'amen.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  8. Can True Catholics Be Rational?

    What does the Tooth Fairy have to say about this? Let us consult with all imaginary friends before making a decision.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Just Curious

      Do you really have to ask a fairy what it thinks of gay marriage?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  9. WDinDallas

    Jim, the ex-priest, is a gay. After the crap that happened prior to 2001 the Catholic Church in the US has a "one strike and your out" policy and the gays (pedophiles) are leaving (basically have left).

    June 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • midwest rail

      You already know that gay does not equal pedophilia, but chose to post a lie anyway. Desperation is such an ugly thing.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Small percentage difference.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • midwest rail

      False – but you already knew that.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Think about it

      While they don't equate, how many male priest pedophilia cases have you heard with young girls, and not boys?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • ColoradoRules

      Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
      -Abraham Lincoln

      🙂

      June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Think about it

      Girls are not allowed to be altar boys in many parishes. Have you ever been in the sacristy of a catholic church, where the priest and altar boys prepare for mass? It's private and very isolated, no one goes back there but the cleaning lady. The perfect place to groom and abuse a child. In addition, boys can't get pregnant.

      There are many cases of girls being molested by priests, but the majority are boys, not because the priest is gay, but because it is so much easier to isolate the boys and abuse them. And I would imagine that when you close your eyes, a blo.w job feels the same whether a boy or a girl is performing it.

      June 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  10. Karen

    I was a member of Father Jims church and still miss him (no longer attend that church)- he made everyone feel welcome and when my daughter came out I often wished I could talk with him because I knew even then he would be accepting -I have often thought about him and what he is up too – thanks for the article

    June 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  11. MrApplesauce

    Is there any religious aspect to marriages done at the courthouse? Is God anywhere on the piece of paper?

    Do Christians believe that 2 Buddhists or Hindus married in our country aren't really married?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bet

      Christians are not too big on facts, they prefer bronze age thinking.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  12. Fred Evil

    If you allow someone to tell you whether or not you are part of a particular religion, you are giving them too much control.
    Pope Nazi is continuing to the embarrassing public downfall of his religion. It was going to happen sooner or later, but demonstrating an absolute disconnect between your religious leader and reality WILL have repercussions.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  13. Can True Catholics Be Rational?

    Good question.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  14. nolimits3333

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître (17 July 1894 – 20 June 1966) was a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble. He was also the first to derive what is now known as the Hubble's law and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble's article.Lemaître also proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, which he called his 'hypothesis of the primeval atom'. As he was a secular priest, he was called Abbé, then, after being made a canon, Monseigneur.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bet

      ^ this.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • SoTrue

      Catholics also invented the University system. It's based off of the monastic life.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • MuyGuapo

      No dummy.
      Astronauts fly to the moon. Fundamentalist Muslims fly into buildings.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bravo WDin

      June 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Bet

      I meant the ^this for nolimits.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  15. Scott

    'True Catholics' have their allegiance primarily to the Roman Church and its papa, the Pope. They get to decide for the avg. Catholic who Jesus is, how imp. Mary is, and whether the impossibly named 'gay marriage' is 'OK.' So could the human leaders change on gay marriage? Of course. Does the Bible change on this? No. But then again the true Catholic isn't beholden to the Bible except thru the mediatorial privilege invoked by the Roman church, its priests, and big papa the Pope.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Diane

      Scott, there are not "true Catholic's" and other types. Our allegance is not "primarly to Rome" . We are taught that their are rules, in order to be a Catholic we must follow them. We seek guidance from our Pope the same way American's do our president. To Cathoic's their are only those who follow the rules and those who are not Catholic...That does not mean we do not make mistakes or sin..it means we are required to recognize and abide by our rules. Many non Catholics choose to call themselves Catholic when they do not believe in or follow any of our rules. Thanks for the comments

      June 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  16. mysliwij

    Hey everyone look what I can do!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  17. MrApplesauce

    Uhm... why can't the Catholic Church not allow gays to be married 'under their roof' (religious ceremony), but still support their legal right, under the laws of the nation, to be married? (forgive the double negative at the start)

    June 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • juanitobsb

      I think this is the best idea. Religious groups shouldn't be forced to accept gay marriage, but they also shouldn't force the government to abide by that group's rules.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • QS

      Because of their irrationality, they see any disagreement with their beliefs to be an "attack" on their beliefs.

      It's all very circular and self-reinforcing.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I don't think the Catholic Church, nor any church can force the government to do anything. The whole "forcing your religion on me" argument is a canard. Catholic people, however, can vote and vote their conscience.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Diane

      You have made a good point Mr. Applesauce because it shows you like many people need to study a bit more about Roman Catholic's this is a misconception. We only recognize our Catholic marrage as our legal one. In fact our church requires that we marry in our church or the marrage is not recognized. If a Catholic chooses to marry both in our church and be married by some other group (IE ; JP) we must be married by our church first in order for us not to be excommunicated. Smart people ask questions..thanks for yours!!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Bet

      Actually, that is the point of gay rights groups. No one is trying to force any church to perform gay marriage ceremonies. They are trying to get same se.x marriage recognized by civil law, not church law. It won't change a thing for any church or religious group. They can still refuse to marry same se.x couples in their churches. They are protected by the First Amendment.

      The civil marriage license gives a couple legal rights whether they also want a church ceremony or not. That's why you have to go to City Hall to get a marriage license to be legally married, whether you go on to be married in a church or not.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  18. Truthbetold

    I don't think this matters whether you are catholic or not. Its a matter of whether you interpret the bible literally or not...regardless of which christian denomination you belong to.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Jade

      Amen.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:49 am |
  19. lipe

    CNN, the anti-Catholic News Network. May God have mercy on you.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Can True Catholics Be Rational?

      Which god? Zeus? Allah?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • billybob snaketail

      God is deader than Elvis.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Nonsense. Religion has spent centuries marginalizing, demonizing, and persecuting gay people. Now that they are fighting back, religious folk wrap themselves in the mantle of victim-hood and cry persecution. Sad and pathetic.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Hugo

      BillyBob, how do you know God is dead. Some have defined God to mean "the universe." Using that definition, how can you possibly claim God is dead?

      I think part of the problem here is I suspect you don't know the difference between theism and deism. How about you do some reading?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • nottolate

      @Can True, "Which god? Zeus? Allah?"

      Well if you've got to ask that then it says you've done absolutely no research into these things on your own. Lazy I take it. In this age of information these things can be easily known.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  20. ajk68

    No. You cannot be a faithful Catholic and approve of gay marriage.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Jakk

      Who cares?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Ghost

      As a society, we should care. Care for that child who is born gay (we know it is not a choice) into a catholic family and has to grow up ashamed, in fear, and who knows what else. Effecting some to the extent of suicide.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • lipe

      no one is born gay. there's no gay gene.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Ghost

      lipe,
      So you think being gay is a choice?
      You conveniently believe this so that you can label gay people sinners and sleep well at night when gay kids commit suicide.
      That's the mindset of a bully.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      really, lipe? where is the left handed gene?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Jon

      Actually you can. Didn't Jesus say the MOST important commandment is "Love your neighbor as you yourself wish to be loved" Yes it really is that simple. "Judge not, lest you be judged"

      June 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • sam

      We need to start cracking down on those left handers. They are a menace. The bible doesn't approve of left handedness, so neither do I. Left handed marriage should be abolished.

      Lefties need to get RIGHT with GOD.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • lipe

      ghost, do you have proof for a gay gene then?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Ghost

      @lipe,
      Don't need proof of a gene. I have many gay friends. I just ask them. They tell me the truth.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @lipe

      "gay gene" is used by those who have no understanding of orientation, not to mention biology.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stupid axx, go read about genetics and biology. No one knows yet why some people are gay. There's no gene for height, either, you dimwit. Do you think midget like you get to choose how tall they will be?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • nottolate

      @Ghost, "Care for that child who is born gay (we know it is not a choice)"

      Speak for yourself. The rational mind knows full well its a choice.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • lipe

      ghost, i mean proof from actual experts or scientists saying a gay gene exists.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lipe, you idiot, do you know how to read?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Madtown

      lipe
      ghost, i mean proof from actual experts or scientists saying a gay gene exists.
      -----–
      There's no hetero gene either.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • The Rev 2012

      Actually genetics do play an important role in height. And dwarfism (midget) is genetic. But apparently you can be of average height and still be small minded

      June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I can't believe all the atheist have no proof of a gay gene but still believe that it is a genetic trait. They must have some kind of faith in their beliefs. SHOW ME THE PROOF! Then I will believe gays are genetic. Easy right?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • QS

      My all-time favorite irrational argument – a straight person, trying to claim they know more about being gay than I do! LMAO!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • The Rational Mind Also Knows

      Of course, nottolate, just like the rational mind knows that being born black is a choice.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Ghost

      @QS,
      I know. I am not gay but have many gay friends. Unless they are all lying to me, they tell me to the person that it is not a choice. I think they can be considered the experts on this.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Erik

      "no one is born gay. there's no gay gene."

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      There are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Uhhh, Bill? Oh, Billy? Did you read the above?

      Want to apologize now or pretend you didn't see it?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Diane

      @ ghost..I am in the medical field and no we do not have anyone or fact that says being gay is a choice. You write "I have many gay friends", so do I and everyone of them just like straight people have a diffrent story as to why they are gay. Erick I do not know were you copied your statement from but writing or quoteing something that is not true does not make it true. No medical person states that you are born gay that is an opinion not rooted in any medical fact.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • QS

      Thanks Ghost, and as we can see from Diane's comment....some people simply don't, and probably never will, get it.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I just think it's hilarious that the same question you ask for the proof of God you cannot authoritatively answer in the defense of orientation. You use the same circular logic you accuse Christians of and don't even recognize it. "My gay friends told me so it must be true" Really? That's the proof? Can't stop laughing

      June 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Ghost

      Look, you all are missing something here.
      We are not saying we know WHY someone is born gay or is gay without a choice. We are saying that gay people state that this is not a choice. So, based on that alone, I believe it is not a choice.

      What kind of world would we have to live in to believe that EVERY single gay person, stating that this is not a choice, is lying to us. You would have to be one of these conspiricy nuts.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.