Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, Ken Buck, made a little news today saying on Meet the Press that he believes that being gay is “a choice,” and that homosexuality may be akin to alcoholism in that some can be predisposed to it from birth. His opponent, incumbent (and appointed) senator Michael Bennett, asserted this placed Buck outside the “mainstream” of opinion.
There’s a lot wrong with this beyond the obvious. First, I’ll tackle the lesser infraction. The question of whether homosexuality is a “choice” is not a question of political opinion — it’s a scientific claim; whether or not being gay is innate. So whether or not one’s belief about that claim is “mainstream” is irrelevant. Evolution by natural selection is a fact, but the majority of Americans don’t accept it. But its veracity has nothing to do with whether or not it is a mainstream view.
Now the bigger problem, which has bothered me for years. The question put to Ken Buck, whether or not homosexuality is a choice, implies that if it were merely a choice then it would somehow be okay to be anti-gay, and also implies that homosexuality is some kind of affliction or moral stain that is better avoided prima facia. This is hogwash.
For the record: It doesn’t matter if you wound up gay through by accident of birth, whether you decided out of whole cloth to be gay all on your own, or whether you’re gay or straight depending on the time of day or phases of the Moon. The point is that it’s only the business of the person in question. The only subjective, moral question is how one person treats another, not whether or how one person loves another.
So let’s stop asking whether or not homosexuality is a choice, because it doesn’t matter. What matters is how we behave toward each other. Instead, someone should ask folks like Ken Buck and the other Tea Partiers and theocrats whether their bigotry toward people different from them is a choice, or whether they’re just born that way.