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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Thursday, April 02, 2020
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute, called on the nation’s governors to halt “gender reassignment surgery” during the coronavirus crisis.
Morse explained: “The government has called for a moratorium on non-essential procedures in order to conserve medical resources. Sex-change operations clearly fall within this category. No one will be harmed by a delay here. And it will give those considering such surgeries more time to contemplate what could be a life-altering event that they’ll later regret.”
The Ruth Institute took a similar position on abortion clinics during the coronavirus crisis, calling for a halt in elective abortions as non-essential medical procedures.
Trans activists have warned that some gender-confused will commit suicide if their operation is delayed. Morse called this argument a red herring. “A study shows that those who have undergone a ‘sex-change’ operation are nearly 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.” (See below for link.)
Morse said a moratorium would help us come to terms with the nature of gender-reassignment surgery. “After the operation, patients will have the same sex they had before. These procedures change physical appearance, not DNA. Those who were born male or female will remain so till the end of their days, regardless of what they do to their bodies.”
“The answer to gender confusion is compassionate counseling, not facilitating a fraud,” Morse said. She also called on governors to lift bans on such therapy, where they exist. “Bans on conversion therapy are often so broad that therapists fear taking on gender-confused clients. Lifting such bans would enable those seeking help to receive it without therapists fearing legal consequences.”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Dr Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dhejne C, Lichtenstein P, Boman M, Johansson ALV, Långström N, Landén M (2011) Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery:
Cohort Study in Sweden. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16885. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0016885
Posted on: Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Educating yourself is the first step in fighting the effects of the sexual revolution in your life and among loved ones.
The Ruth Institute is hosting its Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, and you're invited.
Learn how to confront and survive trends in transgenderism, the LGBT subculture, the pitfalls of population control, post-abortion trauma, same-sex parenting, childhood sexual abuse, and more.
The summit will include various sessions loaded with information. Have you ever wondered, for example, how pornography is affecting people’s lives? The Summit’s class “Protecting Our Children from Our Pornified Culture” will open your eyes. These and other facts about pornography will be discussed:
For this and many other well-researched presentations, save the date:
July 17-18, 2020
Posted on: Friday, February 28, 2020
Right Wing Watch – a project of People for the American Way that routinely misrepresents family advocates – responded to the Ruth Institute’s Feb. 21 presentation of its Make the Family Great Again petition at the State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights.
Right Wing Watch claims both the Ruth Institute petition and the Commission itself were created to help advance what it calls an “anti-equality agenda,” a term frequently used to smear and dismiss arguments for the right to life and defense of the family.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: Every person comes into the world as a helpless baby. Every person has a mother and a father. Infancy is the one truly universal human experience. Is respecting this fact what Right Wing Watch regards as ‘anti-equality?’”
Morse continued: “Our Petition doesn’t mention LGBTQ, homosexuality or ‘same-sex marriage.’ We focus on the rights of children and parents.” Morse’s statement to the Commission reiterated the rights enumerated in the petition:
“Which of these rights does People for the American Way think are ‘anti-equality?’” Morse asked. “Does Right Wing Watch think children have no right to a relationship with, or to know the identity of, their parents? Maybe Right Wing Watch and its parent organization, People for the American Way, do not believe parents have the right to raise their children in accordance with their values. If so, let them tell us: who does have the right to direct the education of children?”
The Ruth Institute’s petition gained more than 8,000 signatures at its partner site for this project, LifePetitions.com. Signers included leaders and activists from 15 countries, among them former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin King, Jr.), Nigerian Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, and Fr. Boniface Ssenteza (National Scouting Chaplain of Uganda).
People for the American Way and Right Wing Watch also accused the Commission, headed by Harvard Law Professor and former Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon, of promoting a “right-wing interpretation of religious liberty.”
Morse countered: “The Constitution prohibits government interference with the free exercise of religion. That is neither right-wing nor left-wing. The sexual revolutionaries simply want to avoid an honest debate on these important topics.”
The Ruth Institute is an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a Civilization of Love. Find more information here.
Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact email@example.com.
Posted on: Tuesday, November 26, 2019
On November 23, Hudson Byblow, a former same-sex attracted man with transgender inclinations, now a faithful Catholic living chastely, spoke at the Saint Pius X Church Center in Rochester, New York, to an enthusiastic audience.
This event, co-sponsored by The Ruth Institute and The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network, was in response to a recent interfaith Rochester event featuring Fr. James Martin, a priest known to advocate for homosexuality. The Ruth Institute worked with a group of local Catholics, at their request, to bring Byblow to Rochester.
Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., said, “Catholics must respond to people like Fr. James Martin. Evangelicals must respond to people like Pastor Josh Harris. The best response to fuzzy thinking is clear, unambiguous positive thinking,especially on the ancient Christian teachings about marriage, family and human sexuality.”
“It was a great blessing to welcome Hudson Byblow to our diocese to share his story and proclaim the fullness of truth on the virtue of chastity,” said Jim Havens, General Manager of The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network.
“In our time, when grave lies about human sexuality have largely captured the culture, and have even gained a strong foothold within the human element of the Church, faithful lay-led events such as this are no longer merely beneficial, they have become necessary," Havens said.
Local pro-life leader John White said, “In his talk, ‘Something more beautiful,’ not only did we hear about the mercy of Jesus Christ, we also felt it through the story of Hudson Byblow. Once feeling inadequate and not one of the boys, he is now a leader of men. He leads them to Christ.”
Byblow is a teacher and public speaker. He shares his journey from feeling like he didn’t belong and that he must be “gay” (and then transgender) to joyfully living a life of chastity in the freedom of Christ.
For more information on Hudson Byblow, visit
The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.
Find out more about The Ruth Institute here.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Monday, November 18, 2019
By Jennifer Roback Morse
Published on October 31, 2019, at The Stream.
Seminary in Florence, Italy. Image courtesy of pixabay.com.
You see, this Notre Dame study is a good news, bad news situation. The good news is that only 6% of seminarians surveyed reported sexual harassment. The bad news is that less than half the seminaries in the U.S. participated in the survey. The problem is: we don’t know which half is which.
My organization, the Ruth Institute has a special interest in this study. These results are completely consistent with the results of Fr. Paul Sullins’ second report, Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000. Fr. Sullins is no slouch. He holds a doctorate in sociology and taught at Catholic University of America. He finds that recently ordained clergy are less likely to be abusers, and less likely to have male victims. Priests ordained within the last 10 years of his data collection are more likely to be orthodox, faithful and chaste. So, the Notre Dame findings are fully consistent with Fr. Sullins’ findings from a very different set of data. The young guys are good guys. Good news, for sure.
But don’t break out the bubbly. We still got problems.
You see, the Notre Dame researchers are serious people, doing serious work. They made good faith attempts to include all the seminaries and houses of religious formation. When some didn’t respond, the McGrath Institute at Notre Dame went the extra mile. Their Executive Director, Dr. John Cavadini, wrote letters to U.S. bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and superiors of religious orders. He told them about the study. He asked that they grant permission to participate in the study to their seminarians.
In spite of this diligence, only about 50% of the seminaries participated in the survey. Nearly 40% (37% to be exact) of seminaries and houses of formation never gave him the courtesy of a reply. Another 15% of seminaries or houses of formation either flat out declined to participate, or they said they were interested but then never responded to multiple attempts to follow up.
It is hard to believe all these schools didn’t know about the request.
It is also hard to believe that the schools that participated and the schools that didn’t are similar in every relevant respect. Some seminary authorities decided to not respond to repeated inquires. Some seminary rectors decided to not allow their men to be informed about the opportunity to participate in the survey. I wonder why?
Do you think the institutions that tolerate sexual activity, voluntary or otherwise, would be eager to encourage their men to participate in a survey about sexual activity and harassment? A school with a corrupt rector, or a diocese with a history of tolerating sexual acting out in the clergy, do you think those are the places rushing to tell Notre Dame, “yes, oh yes, you can ask our students anything?”
Maybe it’s just me. But I’m thinking, “no,” and “no.”
Wouldn’t you like to know, which schools had the students that said, “sexual harassment isn’t a problem here?” Wouldn’t you like to know which seminaries had students who said that seminaries should “automatically expel all men who do not live chastely?” Wouldn’t you like to know which schools couldn’t be bothered to forward the invitation to participate emails to their students?
I’d love to know. I’m thinking you would too.
Now, I’ve done social science research. Promising confidentiality to participants is standard protocol. The professionals at Notre Dame are not going to reveal which schools participated.
But we, dear reader, have every right to ask our bishops and seminary rectors: did our seminary participate in this survey? We, the faithful, have every right to say, “If your school participated, we congratulate you with our sustained financial support! If our school didn’t participate, why not? If you had a good reason to decline to participate, we would like to hear it.”
If they don’t answer a simple “yes or no” question, we have every right to draw our own conclusions.
At the same time, those seminaries that did participate can claim “bragging rights.” They could say, “We released a list of our students for the Notre Dame research team to contact and invite to participate. We encouraged our men to cooperate.” This would be no violation of any confidentiality agreement or of anyone’s privacy. This would be perfectly ethical.
The students who participated in this survey sound like fine young men. When asked to volunteer suggestions for improving seminary life, they wanted their schools to provide stronger formation in chastity. But what about the other half of our seminaries? We have no way of knowing what is going on. Are they all corrupt? Just how bad are the bad schools?
Church authorities who have responsibility for seminaries, I call on you to address this question. If your men participated, we applaud you. Your men are an encouragement to us all. We thank you for them. We wish to help support you, and them.
If you don’t answer these questions, our imaginations are left free to roam. You will have only yourselves to blame if our suspicions increase.
Posted on: Monday, November 11, 2019
In announcing an upcoming speech by Hudson Byblow, a faithful Catholic who once embraced a gay identity, Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., said, “The best response to fuzzy thinking is clear, unambiguous positive thinking,especially on the Catholic doctrine on sexuality.”
“We are concerned about the confusion spread by people such as Fr. James Martin, who spoke at an Interfaith gathering in Rochester, New York, on November 7,” Morse explained. “A group of loyal Catholics in Rochester asked for the Ruth Institute’s support.”
In collaboration with the Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network, the Ruth Institute is sponsoring a talk by Hudson Byblow November 23, 7 pm, at St. Pius X Church Parish Center (3010 Chili Avenue, Rochester). The title of his talk is “Something More Beautiful – From LGBTQ to Jesus Christ.”
Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matanohas given permission for the event to take place on Catholic property and be advertised in Catholic media. Byblow’s own bishop, The Most Reverend Mark A. Hagemoen of the Canadian Province of Saskatoon, says “Mr. Byblow’s approach is informed by his own journey and ongoing conversion, and by his intellectual, human and spiritual formation. I am confident that Hudson is faithful in presenting the fullness of the Church’s teaching in these areas and that his presentations will be of great benefit to his audiences.”
Archbishop Donald Bolen of Regina, Canada, formerly bishop of Saskatoon, said, “Mr. Byblow’s frank yet tempered approach to some of the most difficult topics facing our youth today is an important part of dialogue and witness so needed by our church on matters including chastity, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and contemporary gender issues.”
Morse said, “We are honored to work with The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network and others to let the full truth and beauty of Catholic teaching shine forth.” She also noted, “The teaching of the universal call to chastity has been a part of the Christian tradition from Apostolic times, stretching back to Judaism. These teachings are often regarded as strictly Catholic, but historically, all branches of Christianity and Judaism taught the same things. Mr. Byblow’s talk is open to anyone who wishes to learn more about the beauty of living a life of self-command.”
Byblow is a teacher and Catholic speaker. He shares his journey from being bullied and abused and thinking he must be gay, to being a free man, living in the freedom of Christ as a Catholic, joyfully striving to live a life of chastity.
Find more on the November 23 speech here.
The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love. Find out more here.
Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact email@example.com.
Posted on: Monday, October 21, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse Nov. 26, 2018 at NCRegister.com.
One curious feature of the current clergy sex-abuse scandal is the reticence of the non-Catholic media to go after the predators.
Many journalists in the “Legacy Media” seem to have an “anti-Catholic default” setting. One might think such journalists would leap at the chance to pile on with negative reports about the behavior of the Catholic hierarchy. Yet most secular newsrooms have been quite subdued on this issue.
This situation cries out for an explanation.
I propose that many people in our culture, including the media, subscribe to what I call “Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution.”
Some of these ideas have specifically to do with homosexual activity and identity. Others are part of the more general ideological structure of the sexual revolution. Dissecting these ideas and correcting or even discarding them is a crucial step in getting to the bottom of the clergy sex-abuse scandal.
Allow me to assist.
Let me state for the record: Gross generalizations are unfair and unhelpful. I will never say “All gay men are … .” In fact, I once wrote an article called “Fifty Shades of Gay” — so I’m not about to draw rash conclusions about “gay men” from the behavior of a few.
However, the over-representation of homosexual predation certainly casts doubt on what I will call the “Grand Gay Narrative.” The marketing machine for “LGBT” activism and its allies in the sexual revolution have gone to a lot of trouble to create the following impressions in the public mind:
People who hold these ideas might very well object, “That isn’t exactly what we mean.” I will be glad to accept a moderation of their position if they care to walk back these extreme versions.
Let’s see where that would leave us:
In response to each of these points:
In short, it should be appropriate to say, “Men of homosexual inclination used the priesthood as a base of operation for preying on teenaged boys.”
Behind these specific beliefs about homosexual practices are also some general cherished beliefs of the sexual revolution. They include:
This ideological aegis is providing cover for clergy sexual abuse. Journalists, judges, lawmakers and opinion-leaders who subscribe to these ideas are going to squirm when they try to face the evidence. Like the “#MeToo” movement, they are trying to condemn sexual abuse while still embracing the ideologies that made it possible.
Some of my readers no doubt have already figured out from experience that the sexual revolutionaries have been lying to them.
I urge you to examine your conscience in search of lingering traces of these beliefs. Go to confession. You will feel better, I promise you. And you will be a more credible witness in the Church’s current hour of need.
If you are still hanging on to any of these beliefs about same-sex attraction, I beg you to re-examine them. If you have friends who are hanging on to them, share this article with them. You can feel good about yourself without subscribing to superstitions.
In fact, you’ll feel better about yourself and about life in general if you know the truth. Just follow the One who described himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” In this case, as in so many others, the Truth really will set you free.
Posted on: Monday, October 14, 2019
Writing in Public Discourse, the Journal of the Witherspoon Institute, Fr. Paul Sullins, a Senior Research Associate with the Ruth Institute, analyzed a new study which conclusively refutes the notion that some people are born homosexual. (“Born That Way” No More: The New Science of Sexual Orientation, September 30, 2019.)
Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. commented: “In this article, Fr. Sullins continues his important work debunking the myths of the Sexual Revolution. Previous highlights include the myth of ‘no difference” between children of same sex parents and mother-father couples and the myth that clergy sex abuse in the Catholic church has nothing to do with homosexuality in the Catholic priesthood. Now Fr. Sullins is among the few who are willing to draw out the conclusions from this latest study: homosexuality cannot be genetically innate. There is no gay gene.”
The study was released last month by a team of scientists at MIT and Harvard. Fr. Sullins writes that they found “that the effect of the genes we inherit from our parents (known as ‘heritability’) on same-sex orientation was very weak.” But “a person’s developmental environment which includes diet, family, friends, neighborhood, religion and a host of other life conditions – is twice as influential on the probability of developing same-sex behavior or orientation as a person’s genes are.”
As Fr. Sullins reports, the study notes, “'There is certainly no single genetic determinant (sometimes referred to as the gay gene in the media)' that causes same-sex sexual behavior.”
Morse adds: “The study, whose conclusions Fr. Sullins describes incisively and with clarity, will have a huge impact in a number of areas, including anti-discrimination cases, and bans on behavior modification therapy.”
More on “Born That Way” No More: The New Science of Sexual Orientation:
thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/09/57342/ and papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3464342
Fr. Sullins, who was an Episcopalian priest, is now a married Catholic priest; he earned a Ph.D. from Catholic University in 1997.
Besides his work for the Ruth Institute, the Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is a Research Professor of Sociology and Director of the Leo Initiative for Catholic Social Research at the Catholic University of America. He has written four books and over 150 journal articles, book chapters and research reports on issues of faith and culture, including “Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse related to Homosexual Priests,” in the National Catholic Bioethics quarterly, Winter 2019.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 10, 2019
COMMENTARY: ‘Male and Female He Created Them’ has great potential for Catholic education. Faithful Catholics should pick up this ball and run with it.
Catholic commentators from across the spectrum have criticized the Vatican’s new document on gender theory. Some on the so-called left say Pope Francis didn’t approve the document; others on the so-called right say it is too little too late in stopping the spread of gender ideology from influencing the Church. As I read the Congregation for Catholic Education’s document, I can see why both “sides” might react as they do. So I was surprised when the headmaster of an independent Catholic school told me, “This document is a Godsend to us.” This gentleman is not only a dear friend, but a man of deep loyalty to traditional Catholic sexual ethics. I decided to reread the document from his perspective. Does this document help Catholic educators fulfill their mission?
To be clear, what are the critics criticizing? Those who favor the “LGBT” agenda, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, are angry that the Vatican supports the fact that God created only two sexes. Such critics even consider the title of the document, “Male and Female He Created Them” to be inflammatory.
On the other hand, many of those who are loyal to the magisterium and the traditional teachings of the Church are alarmed by the subtitle: “Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.” These critics observe that “dialogue” with sexual radicals does not do well at preserving tradition. All too often, “dialogue” translates into the radicals talking until they wear us down. Or worse, they don’t even pretend to dialogue; they take the opportunity provided by “dialogue” to attack. In Gabriele Kuby’s critique of the new Vatican document, she recounts her personal experience with this sort of “dialogue.”
I fully understand. This amateur video posted to my Facebook page from a speaking engagement at the University of California-Santa Barbara captures one of my experiences with “dialogue” with protesters. Certainly, with activists, “compromise” or negotiation is out of the question. Experience has shown that what one side considers compromise, the other side considers a steppingstone. Permit me to say: I’m not a fan of “dialogue” for its own sake.
But the Congregation for Catholic Education is not writing for people like me and others in the commentariat. The primary audience of the Congregation for Catholic Education is Catholic educators. In the daily life of the principal of a Catholic school, he or she must deal with a wide range of people. The constituency of a Catholic school includes the faculty and staff, the parents of children in the school, prospective parents and, of course, the children themselves. And that is just for independent schools. Diocesan or parish or religious-order schools bring another layer of constituents to the headmaster’s or principal’s office: the bishop, the pastor, the abbot. On top of all that, the principal has accrediting agencies, other government entities, donors, the press and the general public. Among these people will be some who are well catechized and enthusiastic for the faith. Others, not so much.
In fact, in today’s climate, some Catholic school administrators must wonder whether the sophisticated lesbian pair in their office asking for their child’s admission to the school is setting a trap that will lead to a lawsuit.
“Dialogue” happens in the principal’s office every day, whether she likes it or not. Permit me to say: I would not be temperamentally suited to this job. Permit me also to say: I am grateful to those who shoulder this job.
The Congregation for Catholic Education’s new document provides clarity for the administration of the Catholic school. They can build that clear teaching into policies and procedures, student and faculty handbooks and similar documents. “No, there will be no open-access bathrooms or locker rooms.” “No, we cannot have a drag show on campus.” “Yes, we are going to participate in sporting leagues that require all participants to compete only against other students of their birth sex.” “Our new family-life curriculum is going to be based on theology of the body.”
As an added public-relations bonus, “Male and Female He Created Them” is a product of Pope Francis’ Vatican, which many consider “gay-friendly”; not Pope Benedict’s Vatican, which has been labeled homophobic.
My friend the headmaster pointed out that “Male and Female He Created Them” provides a backstop against the pressure he faces on all these questions. He can beef up the school’s governing charters with the authority of Rome. Things like the school’s written handbooks can provide protection in legal actions such as discrimination suits, harassment from accrediting agencies and the like. This is a good time to mention something else I noticed in the congregation’s work. Another office in Vatican City, the Pontifical Council for the Family, produced a widely (and justly) criticized sexual-education curriculum, “The Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Education,” in 2018. Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons described it as “the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years.” Coming from a man who has counseled thousands of victims and survivors of the sexual revolution, that is quite a criticism.
“The Meeting Point” is completely absent from the references in “Male and Female He Created Them.” Instead, we find numerous references to Pope St. John Paul’s corpus, including Familiaris Consortio, Veritatis Splendor, his “Letter to Women” and his great work from his days as a philosophy professor, Love and Responsibility.
I do not pretend to know what is going on in the various quarters of the Vatican. (Being a Vaticanista is another job I am really not temperamentally suited for!) But it appears to me that “Male and Female He Created Them” is a different kettle of fish from many things that have come out of Rome recently. We were beginning to wonder whether the great teaching pontificate of John Paul II had ever even happened. Bringing his work front and center is a great gift to all the Church, especially to Catholic educators. Critics of “Male and Female He Created Them” might argue that the calls for “dialogue” leave an opening for less-than-entirely-faithful interpretations. People who want their Catholic schools to be nothing but private prep schools with crucifixes might find a way to drive a truck through the seemingly clear statements that there are only two sexes. And, indeed, so-called Catholic progressives just might.
I do know one thing: If those faithful to the magisterium ignore this document, or worse, shun it, very likely the “dialoguers” will interpret it the way they want. Unless the faithful contend for the proper interpretation of this document, the less-than-faithful cohort will win by default.
My advice to faithful Catholic administrators and parents is this: Pick up this ball and run with it. It’s your move.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 03, 2019
The findings of a study of the genetic basis of homosexuality published last week in the journal Science explode the false narrative that being gay is an innate condition that is controlled or largely compelled by one's genetic makeup.
Rebutting decades of search by LGBT scientists for a "gay gene", the study's first author flatly concludes "it will be basically impossible to predict one’s sexual activity or orientation just from genetics”.
This is putting it gently.
The study found that a person's developmental environment--the influence of diet, family, friends, neighbourhood, religion, and a host of other life conditions--was twice as influential as genetics on the probability of adopting same-sex behaviour or orientation. The genetic influence did not come from one or two strong sources but from dozens of genetic variants that each added a small increased propensity for same-sex behaviour.
A genetic arrangement based on a large number of markers across the genome means that virtually all human beings have this arrangement, or large portions of it. In other words, not only did the study fail to find some controlling gene for gay identity, it also established that gay persons are not genetically distinct from all other human beings in any meaningful sense.
Gay persons, we might say, have a perfectly normal human genome.
Proponents of LGBT normalization, which includes the publishing journal and mainstream media reporters, have tried to put the best face on this result. As if the issue were tolerance of gay people's lifestyle choices, the New York Times quotes one of the authors saying, “I hope that the science can be used to educate people a little bit more about how natural and normal same-sex behaviour is”. LGBT activists declared that the study "provides even more evidence that being gay or lesbian is a natural part of human life".
Indeed, the study found that genetic propensity for same-sex behaviour is not very different from that of 28 other complex traits or behaviours and is related to a propensity for other risk-taking behaviour such as smoking, drug use, number of sex partners or a general openness to new experience.
But the longstanding and emphatic claim of gay activists in law and public policy has not been that same-sex activity reflects upbringing or lifestyle factors, but is an inborn difference that is discovered, not developed; a distinct and fixed element of a person's nature that is unchangeable.
Emotionally and sexually, same-sex orientation is not a matter of who persons choose to become, they have claimed, but who they already are.
A linchpin of the evidential basis for the US Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage, for example, was that same-sex orientation reflected an "immutable nature [which] dictate[d] that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment." (Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, p. 4).
And the point of conflict for tolerance today is not so much for people who want to identify themselves as gay or lesbian, but for people who want, for themselves personally, to avoid or resist such an identification.
On the grounds that they would be denying their immutable nature, numerous legislative and judicial efforts are currently underway to outlaw voluntary therapy for or deny the legitimacy of adults who experience some level of same-sex attraction but do not want to engage in same-sex relations or identify themselves as gay or lesbian.
In the very jurisdictions where persons with same-sex orientation are now free to identify as gay and to engage in same-sex marriage, LGBT ideologues are working to deny the same persons the freedom to decline to identify as gay and to engage in opposite-sex marriage, on the premise that they would thereby be doing violence to who they really are.
This study pulls the rug out from under such thinking.
If gay and lesbian persons are genetically normal, what basis is there for considering them a distinct, protected class subject to preferential treatment under the law or for prohibiting other genetically normal persons from refusing to engage in same-sex behaviour?
The study finds that most persons with the identical genotype as gay or lesbian persons (by an approximate ratio of 2 to 1) end up, for various reasons of social environment or development or personal principle, not engaging in same-sex relations. Shouldn't such persons have equal freedom and legitimacy to do so?
In a free society that values personal autonomy, it is not an appropriate function of law to penalize personal lifestyle choices, no matter how vehemently some may disagree with them or politically incorrect they may be. If it ever did make sense on the premise that gay persons were born that way, in the absence of such a compelling genetic difference, it is impossible to reasonably maintain that tolerance of homosexual behaviour requires intolerance of heterosexual behaviour.
In light of these implications, some of the scientists involved in the study, who are themselves gay, have publicly opposed its publication. Strikingly unaware of their own bias, they expressed concern that the study findings would be "misconstrued" to "advance agendas of hate".
In less heated language, they are concerned that it might be interpreted in ways with which they disagree. For them, the benefits of increased understanding of human behaviour in this area did not outweigh the perceived negative political implications of the findings for the expression of gay identity.
The lead authors of the study, some of whom are also gay, are to be commended for resisting the impulse to suppress scientific evidence for the sake of political expediency. Although sadly often violated today, the conviction that the dissemination of evidence and ideas should not be censored by political considerations is fundamental to modern science.
While we can dispute, hopefully with mutual respect, who may be being hateful to whom in their interpretation of the results, in the end we will all find our best modus vivendi on the basis of policy and law that reflects solid objective evidence, honestly presented, as this study exemplifies.
Or as a wise man once said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free".
Rev. D. Paul Sullins recently retired as Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC. He is a Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute. Dr. Sullins is a leader in the field of research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development. He has written four books and over 100 journal articles, research reports, and essays on issues of family, faith, and culture.