Gay by Choice? Yeah, What If?

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Alright, so Bill Richardson was confused. He looked it in the gay rights’ forum the other day when Melissa Etheridge asked him whether he thinks homosexuality is a choice. He said yes; she rephrased the question, and he said yes again. Then, yesterday Richardson spent the day backtracking. All of which has created quite a hubbub.

My question is, does the gay rights movement really want choice to be the nexus of the fight? Asking whether you think being gay is a choice is kind of like asking whether you think there’s life in other galaxies. Asking for an opinion on science isn’t so useful; scientifically we just don’t know for sure yet. Whatever your answer is, it’s your opinion, nothing more.

And if the answer to that question is indeed a proxy for belief in equal rights, as this hullabaloo suggests, then what happens if the science ends up showing there is choice involved in sexual preference?

Whether being gay is a choice, to me, isn’t the crux of the issue. Yes, it would make the fight for equal rights much cleaner (and I believe it someday may), but I would rather see Etheridge ask Richardson whether he believes that people should be afforded differential treatment based on whom they love? Make that the platform, force humanity to the fore, and let science, if it turns out to show genetic predisposition, strengthen the argument.

Somehow the religious right has co-opted the gay-by-choice meme and owns this pro-choice movement. How about the left sticks to its right-to-choose guns here? That choosing whom we love, same sex or opposite, is a “lifestyle choice” regardless. I mean, where is the science proving we are born straight by default? The argument could be made that there are plenty of gay folks out there choosing to be straight, do they then have fewer rights in their straight relationships?

Think about it, and fire back.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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