FIRST-PERSON: Wedding cakes & photos in the fray
EDITOR'S NOTE: Two paragraphs referencing the research of Simon LeVay have been deleted from the original posting. Dr. LeVay has notified Baptist Press that his views have changed since the 1991 citation in the column due to his subsequent studies.
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) -- Judicial rulings continue to grant civil rights to a behavior. An administrative law judge with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission now has ordered a baker to provide wedding cakes for homosexual weddings or face fines.
When a homosexual couple visited Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood in July 2012 and inquired about a cake for their wedding, bakery owner Jack Philips told the pair he did not make cakes for homosexual weddings.
The couple filed charges with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission which led to the judge's ruling in early December.
A New Jersey state administrative law judge ruled in January of this year that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association had discriminated against a homosexual couple and violated their rights when the group declined to allow a same-sex wedding on its beachfront property.
On Aug. 22, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against a wedding photographer who refused to contract with a homosexual couple to photograph a "commitment ceremony." The court upheld a decision by a state agency that found the photographer had violated state law.
It must be noted that the businesses in each of these three cases did not discriminate against individuals per se. They simply declined to participate in a ceremony designed to celebrate as natural, normal and healthy a behavior that each business owner believes is aberrant and immoral.
The real issue, however, is that American culture and jurisprudence accepts, as a fact, something that is yet unproven from a scientific point of view. The so-called fact is that homosexuality is innate. In other words, homosexuals are born that way.
While there have been scientific studies that have suggested homosexuality could possibility be determined by genetics or biology, none thus far has been conclusive or definitive.
The most comprehensive study of genetics was released in April 2003 when the International Human Genome Project announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project. Major science journals reported on the incredible advances made in the field of genetics based on the project. However, the one piece of information that never materialized from the Human Genome Project was the identification of the so-called "gay gene."
The most recent effort to suggest a biological basis for homosexuality was reported in December 2012 in the Quarterly Review of Biology (Vol. 87, No. 4, pp. 343-368). The title of the study: "Homosexuality as a Consequence of Epigenetically Canalized Sexual Development." (Epigenetics is the study of factors that switch parts of the genome off and on at strategic times and locations during development).
Researchers in the field of epigenetics who conducted a study of preborn babies in their mothers' wombs reported "there is compelling evidence that epi-marks contribute to both the similarity and dissimilarity of family members, and can therefore feasibly contribute to the observed familial inheritance of homosexuality...."
Some media outlets heralded the epigenetic research with such headlines as following headline: "Science: Homosexuality isn't genetic, but it is biological."
However, that was not quite the case.
The researchers wrote on page 357 of their report: "Although we cannot provide definitive evidence that homosexuality has a strong epigenetic underpinning, we do think that available evidence is fully consistent with this conclusion."
Note the researches admit they made no definitive discovery that homosexuality is determined epigenetically and, at best, they think the evidence is consistent with their conclusion that it is.
To date, as far as science is concerned, a genetic predetermination and/or a biological basis for homosexuality simply do not exist.
Even the American Psychological Association recognizes no scientific basis for a genetic predisposition for homosexuality. The APA once touted there was considerable evidence to "suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality." The APA in recent years has abandoned this position.
The APA has produced a brochure, available on its website, titled "Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality." In the pamphlet the APA states the following: "There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors...."
Civil rights are reserved for human characteristics that are immutable. So, as far as science is concerned, homosexuality is a behavior and does not qualify for special rights. Our founding fathers likely would voice outrage over recent judicial rulings forcing businesses to participate in celebrations of a behavior. God-fearing, freedom-loving Americans should too.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention's office of public affairs, and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).