Even before the first bottle was hurled at Stonewall, the religious right's go-to argument that gay people deserve to be treated like filthy animals is because we have made a conscious choice to be gay. All of their arguments have hinged on this central tenant. We are not really gay, we have simply chosen an abhorrent "lifestyle."
Even though it hasn't worked out all that well for them, this central argument has wended itself through every major court battle, eventually finding itself unsuccessfully presented to the Supreme Court. Yesterday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, one of the most virulent anti-equality crusaders out there, scuttled this bigoted notion in one fell swoop.
Obviously, homosexual attractions are not a "choice" in the vast majority of cases. But it should be insulting to people with same-sex attractions to claim that they're compelled to act on those attractions. Homosexual or heterosexual, people are responsible for their conduct. Have we come to the point that we are nothing more than our sexual urges? And that's essentially the point Governor Perry was trying to make. But unfortunately for him, there's no room for an honest conversation in Obama's America.Oh sure, in the paragraph preceding this admission, Perkins cites the Family Research Council's stance that "research does not show that anyone is "born gay" and instead explains homosexuality through a complex mix of developmental factors." However, Perkins has still blown this ridiculous argument no matter how inadvertently. He can place the word choice in quotation marks all he wants, but the truth he admitted when he wrote that "homosexual attractions are not a choice" is a fundamental shift.
Conceding that we do no choose to be gay but should control our innate gayness because it offends the religious right places them in a very awkward position. They must now admit that their infallible God gave gay people their same-sex attraction yet has placed us in the unenviable position to remain celibate for the remainder of our lives to prove ourselves worthy of God's love. That is a pretty onerous handicap. Thanks a bunch, God.
Now that Tony Perkins has admitted that, no, being gay is not a choice, it is time for him to admit another truth. Adopting your religion, be it Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Flying Spaghetti Monster or none at all is a choice. One, I might add, that people should be able to make for themselves without judgment or scorn. Once Mr. Perkins and others like him come to this fundamental understanding, we can all live in peace with one another.