is Homosexuality a Choice?

is Homosexuality a Choice?
Question from Matt on 6/25/2008:

Hi Father,

Earlier on the board of the topic "Moral Theology", you answered to a question posted on 6/7/2008 about Same Sex Unions. I have one or more questions relating to your response. I will post your response first, then ask my questions/confusions about it.

"There is no scientific evidence that anyone is born with homosexual tendencies. Rather, the weight of the evidence suggests that a person is led to homosexual tendencies in the earliest years of his or her psycho-social upbringing. It remains true that homosexuality is a disorder. That does not mean that homosexuals should be mistreated or discriminated against. "

You are right Father, I have not seen any evidence that suggests Homosexuality is innate. There is a reason why APA included Homosexuality on their Disorders list(before it was removed for I believe Political reasons, pressures)

But suppose that Homosexuality IS a choice, wouldn't it make sense to ask ourselves the same question about our own sexual orientation? I am Straight, but I will be honest, I have never sat down in my room or something like that and make the choice of following the Straight Orientation. Is this because we are born Straight(Just like God wants, I should say?) Is there any Scripture/Catechism support for that? And then somehow later on in our lives, for whatever social reasons, some of us adopt the homosexual tendency?

The reason why I ask is this: If you propose that Homosexuality is a choice to someone who is following that orientation, they will turn it back on you and say: "Did you choose to be Straight?" and if you say "No", they will say "Well, then I did not choose to be Gay. You are born with it" -- But it would be interesting if I could find Scripture support or something to show that we are all born Straight(Hence the reason why God said 'Man should not be alone' I will make him a partner--The Genesis account of Creation)

Thank you & God Bless, Matt
Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on 6/27/2008:

The hypothetical question that you have a homosexual ask you is faulty. The question presupposes or implies that heterosexuality and homosexuality are on the same moral plane. They are not. Heterosexuality is the design of the Creator. Homosexuality is a disorder. You don't choose to be heterosexual, but you do choose whether you will live it chastely.

The hypothetical response to your answer to his or her question is also faulty. As I stated before and you have repeated, there is no scientific evidence that anyone is born with the homosexual disorder. A person who is homosexual because of a disordered upbringing did not choose homosexuality; but they were not born with it


  1. I am doing a paper on homosexuality and I am here to tell you that it isn't in fact a choice. Here are some sites that I have found.

    One from National Geographic about homosexuality in animals. There are many homosexual couples in the animal kingdom that still prefer the same-sex when they are given the opportunity for a relationship with the opposite sex. They stay commited to that one animal until they die.

    One is from a science magazine that talks about how the brain make up of a homosexual male resembles that of a straight female.

    Also, doesn't the Lord work in mysterious ways? It is completely possible that He created homosexuality so that humanity could learn tolerance for his fellow brothers. Before we start speaking for God we need to remember that he taught everyone to love and honor their neighbor. Lets listen to that rule before we start condemning others to hell.

    God is wonderful, He loves everyone. Therefore, He loves homosexual people just as much as heterosexual. And you were right about the chaste comment. God doesn't care if you are with a man or a woman all he wants is you to love your partner and wait for marriage. Unfortunately, the gay community isn't allowed to marry at all. This is against God to not allow their love to be celebrated in his eyes.

    So please read this before you throw it away. I am a Catholic and I love the Catholic but this is one area where we are wrong. Luckily, we are mature enough to admit our mistakes and move on.

  2. With all due respect, there are a couple problems with your statements. For one, animals have no sense of right or wrong--they cannot sin. God made them that way. Plus, comparing animals to humans when talking about homosexuality being a choice is irrelevant.

    Next, the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. However, the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. Leviticus 18:22 states:
    "Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin."
    Also, Leviticus 20:13 states:
    "The penalty for homosexual acts is death to both parties. They have committed a detestable act and are guilty of a capital offense."
    God would be going against his character by making a person homosexual since his laws call for death because of it.

    Yes, God does love everyone. He does not love homosexual people any less than heterosexual people--He hates the sin but loves the sinner. However, God does care about whether you are with a man or a woman. Along with the two verses from Leviticus explaining that homosexuality is wrong, this verse from 1 Corinthians 11:3 states:
    "There is one thing I want you to know: A man is responsible to Christ, a woman is responsible to her husband, and Christ is responsible to God."
    That verse defines marriage as between a man and a woman--not a man with a man or a woman with a woman. A homosexual marriage does not show love being celebrated in God's eyes. A heterosexual marriage does, though, since it was defined as such.

  3. This is a different Anonymous..

    So based on Leviticus we should round up all the homosexuals and sentence them all to the death penalty? That is not the loving God I know.

    Leviticus 20 is often quoted completely out of context on this issue. If you read entire Leviticus, does all of it make sense for modern times? Look at Leviticus 21 - priest shall not shave off the the edges of their beards. If you're going to follow the Old Testament literally fine..I still think you're interpreting wrong..but at least be consistent, don't pick and choose parts that you feel "make sense".

  4. I don't know why you feel that comparing animals to humans with regards to homosexuality being a choice is irrelevant. The fact that animals participate in homosexuality is proving that homosexuality is not a choice. Animals do not have the sense to choose and can not be blamed for doing so. Just because humans know right from wrong does not mean that they choose homosexuality. Do you think all homosexuals are just choosing that lifestyle because the bible says it is wrong? Oh I see, they just want to sin, right? Furthermore,just because a large number of people believe the bible to be fact doesn't mean it is.

  5. As the Catholic mother of a Catholic lesbian, I cannot believe that homosexuality is a choice. I watched my eldest grow into a beautiful, very intelligent and extremely passionate woman, but rather angry and frustrated. I was never sure why, but for the last 10 years or so I had my suspicions. If she was trying to make a choice, she wouldn't have had these intense feelings. She spent her entire childhood trying to be someone she wasn't.

    We are all taught as Catholics to love one another; that it's not our place to judge each other - that's up to God alone. Since it was God that gave me my most precious gifts of children, I believe that He loves my eldest daughter just as much as he loves my youngest, heterosexual daughter.

    Instead of just trying to find verses to support your opposition to people and their lifestyles, try reading the parts that teach us of love and tolerance for each other.

  6. I am Catholic and have stumbled upon this page due to a research paper I am required to write in my general psychology class based on sexual identity. Although I believe that homosexuality is a choice, I must tell you that there is more evidence pointing to homosexuality being a genetic trait rather than ones choice, this evidence is based on several experiments. In addition, the APA took homosexuality off its disorders list due to research findings. Look up the experiments done by Karen Hooker, D.F. Swaab, and Laura S. Allen. I am simply writing this because I believe people should know the correct facts surrounding this matter.

  7. I am not a catholic, but I think I can drop my two cents as a Protestant christian. First of all, one anonymous felt it relevant that animals in the animal kingdom, show homosexual traits. I don't disagree, but I also know that the hanuman langur kills its young, amongst other animals that commit infanticide. Seeing that these animals do that, does not give us the liberty to do the same. After all rape for us is copulation for them. A friend of mine also pointed out that dogs are sometimes homosexual, but I also disagree with that, dogs see objects including male dogs as subjects of lust, not as object of lust. It is because the dog is filled with lust which is its instinct, that it would hump the couch or a visitor's leg. It's business is not that he likes the male dog or anything, it just wants to fulfill its lust. Homosexual Humans see their partners as objects of lust i.e they lust after the person. That according to God's plan is wrong. What do you think of kleptomaniacs, is it a choice or nature or environment. The truth is we don't really care. We just want to save them from kleptomania because it is wrong. It does not matter if it makes them happy, or if that's how they were born. Finally, I see homosexuality as wrong because I also see beastiality Paedophilia and incest as wrong. If we justify homosexuality as right, then lets get ready to justify the above. But as christians we must learn to tolerate the sinner, but not the sin. love the homosexual but detest homosexuality...thank you

  8. With all due respect, to compare homosexuality to pedophilia, bestiality, and incest is completely inept. A homosexual partnership is between two CONSENTING adults. It does not harm anyone. I'm sure you have someone in your life that is homosexual, I'm sure they would be quite hurt to know that you are comparing them to a pedophile.

    Also, there are many verses, like someone said earlier, that do not work in modern times.

    DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
    If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
    * DEUTERONOMY 22:22
    If a married person has sex with someone else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
    * MARK 10:1-12
    Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
    * LEVITICUS 18:19
    The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.* MARK 12:18-27
    If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
    * DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
    If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy's genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

    Those are just a few that really do not pertain to modern times. So, why do we hold only one up to "moral standards" when the rest can be tossed aside?

    And I'd like to see some scientific evidence that will disprove that homosexuality is a choice. I've yet to come across any.

  9. AnonymousMay 13, 2009

    Ok, I'm sorry I cant sit this one out. First of all if you want to bring Leviticus into this, you have to look at the fact that it was holiness code written 3,000 years ago. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing clothes of mixed fabrics, eating pork, eating shellfish, getting your fortune told, and playing with the skin of a pig. (There goes football!) Ouch, things can change. but to continue on this do you think people really sit there and think Option one, I can live the rest of my life as a social norm. Option two, I can be persecuted, pushed out of my family, lose my friends, there is still a possibility that marriage isn’t an option, be made fun of, possibly lose my job, get beaten battered and bruised and if all else fails when death arrives still might possibly be sent to the fiery underworld. Oh Oh! Option two please. NO, it doesnt work that way. I do believe that some people choose to be bi but those who commit to a serious homosexual relationship because there attracted to the same sex, its not a choice for most, such as myself, I am catholic and if god turns his back on me for being what I am. I dont want him. But I know he wont because it's not like our loving god. People used the bible before African Americans had the right to marry to stop that, but was that anywhere right. I love god, but I hate the way the bible and god himself are being used. I truly believe that this will not change your views but, I will tell you this I would gladly die for the one i love, do anything, and if it came down to it go to hell to spend my life with them.

  10. I have read all the comments regarding peoples opinions made on this site. I must say I am somewhat appalled with the words of the "Bible Thumpers" who choose to be bigots with their thinking and words. They appear to feel that just because they are heterosexual everyone should be. They also are ignorant to the fact many books have been written that clearly state homosexuality is not a choice, it is a behavior we are born with. We do not just wake up one day and decide we want to make our life hard to live (due to our preference) and put ourselves into the light of being shunned, ridiculed, judged and in some cases killed!

    I have been a lesbian since I was a toddler. It was quit obvious to others what my orientation was even when I was too young to even know myself. Explain that!!!!!!

    I am not ashamed of who I am..I do not go out and have frequent lovers, I stay with the individual I am with. I do it with pride....and, I am proud to be a woman..a feminine one at that.

    Those who choose to follow the Bible need to look at the percentage of Priests who have "chosen" to have sexual relations with young boys hence in many cases ruining their life or distorting their opinion of right and wrong. Are these Priests following the word of God? If I were a Catholic, I would be jumping ship, to the religion since obviously they have distorted personalities...Then to inflict them on children??!!!! Instead of individuals looking at the dynamics of what these Priests are doing, it is swept under the carpet and these SICK Priests are allowed to continue in the church. Now, that is bigotry!

    So, those of you who rely on the Bible and scriptures....look long and hard at your opinions.

    I love God and I feel he loves me even though I have been a practicing lesbian 37 years.

    People need to open their eyes to facts and not just rely on the Bible...after all, it was written by man and there are many more topics in the Bible that are considered to be sins, but those of you who appear to be "high and mighty", look a different way when these sins are committed. You need to look at the BIG PICTURE. You may very well be the ones who are going to hell for your opinions, words and actions. As for me, I know I have a place in Heaven since I do not judge anyone. I am also sure the individuals writing derogatory comments are just as judgmental of blacks, foreign people, mixed marriages, etc.

    Shame on you for your ignorant sense of others.

    Michele M.

  11. I have been an atheist....i have been a Christian....I am a Catholic. I must answer to the appaling discussions that are going on in this chat. A choice? really? I do believe MOST "gays and lesbians" choose this to be different.....and the hate crimes such as being beaten and such are NOT in all areas. In my area someone can be gay and loved by many and never be beaten up in his life. However, the Bible is clear it is a "sin" however as all codes of conduct are, the Bible is up for interpretation. And the only group which i see as having that authority is the Magisterium and above all the Holy Spirit. Now put this in objective perspective. The Magisterium has made it clear that the proper interpretation of the Bible's sin passages and statements is that Sin is natural and inherited in all of us correct? We all inherit sin. Is it not possible that a form of original sin is inheriting genetic deficiencies that are passed since the dawn of man in the gene pool. therefore it would be a form of inherited sin....not necessarily "original sin" but it could be a form of inherited sin inclinations. But back to the Magisterium, the have frequently declared that unintentional sin is not the fault of the person who preformed it but the fault of the original sin. Therefore individuals are judged based on what they know. Now I don't know how you interpret that but I interpret that as being conscience. For in the story, it was the Tree of the Knowlege of Evil, but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So just as we inherit original sin, we inherit even more original goodness placed in us in the very beginning of the creation of the Human Spirit, I consider part of this conscience.

    Furthermore, was it not St. Paul himself who said that we are no longer bound by the law but are made free in Christ? If this is true, and i and the catholic church believe it is, then those references to Leviticus and Deuteronomy are no longer legitimate objects for debate. However God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. And this is true...but whos to say that God was ever Legalistic? he declared his law to be followed but was it not the Law of Moses? For Israel? Therefore things that God inspired Moses to write dont apply, nor have they ever applied to all humankind but to israel. The freedom from the law was the opening of the relationship with God to the Gentiles made possible through Jesus Christ. So Homosexuals do not have the Law to fear but the ordinances and laws of the Church and the New Covenant. And both of those while they state that homosexuality is a sin, they give sin new meaning, it is no longer a criminal charge, for Christ will not judge according to the Law but according to the condition of our spirit. and homosexuality, while a sin, it is inherited in the gene pool or caused by psychological disorder. It can be overcome through prayer and medicine....thats right medicine, it is NOT the fault of the homosexual, but it is the fault of those who have not yet developed medicine to treat thier condition. While the act harms thier spirit....and they can responsibly decline the act, and confess it as any other sin, them being gay is not the issue but the act. So stop hating them and try to understand and help them. There are far worse things that one can do. And about the priests? Continue in the Catholic Church? are you mad you ignorant woman? The Pope himself excommunicated them and expressed his deepest apologies and regrets to the families. Those priests are done. And any priest caught in that act receive a similar punishment. Specks and Planks, remember that.

  12. AnonymousJuly 27, 2010

    Do I regret it? Yes. I've been raised a Catholic, but then again, I'm not wanted there. Not welcome, so why would I force myself on you? Ironically, it brings to mind one of the instances where Jesus became mad - at the Pharisees for denying the gates of heaven to man. And it's exactly what you people are doing with your dogmatic narrow mindedness.

    It doesn't matter why I am this way. My own experiences say I've always been like this. And so have the experiences of almost all gay people I know. Yet no one listens to us when we say we've never been given a choice. What matters more is not the fact that it may be genetic or environmental, but the fact that it is unchangeable, it is as much a part of us as heterosexuality is in you. Asking us to ignore it is tantamount to asking us to kill off a part of ourselves. These ex-gay ministries have only served to destroy more lives in the process, not only of the gay men involved but the wives and children they take on afterwards. They live a miserable lie of a life. Because seriously, who in their right mind would choose to be the subject of discrimination, of rejection, and even of death? As homosexuals, we face these things everyday, even now we can still be legally killed in some countries. Why would we choose that? Isn't that evidence enough that it's not a choice?

    I'm a good person, I love my parents and my family, I treat people well, I help the less fortunate, I do no harm to anyone, and despite that I'll still be going to hell for what I am it seems. In contrast mass murderers can go to heaven just by asking for forgiveness. When you compare the two, it's a bit laughable how evil can be forgiven just like that while love isn't. Homosexuality for me is not just sex, but actual emotional love. I challenge you to ask yourself WHY exactly is THAT a sin?


    Give me reasons as to what exactly makes us evil, aside from the fact that we're in Leviticus (which gives no reason either except for just calling us 'abominations'). Is it because we don't reproduce? Is it because it makes you uncomfortable? Is that your definition of evil? Of sin? Is that enough to sentence us to death and eternal torment?

  13. First, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - Homosexuals are God's children, they should not be descriminated against, they should be loved as one might love any child of God.

    Second - Homosexuality is not a sin and homosexuals are not abominations. That being said: homosexual acts are sinful because they are disordered desires. What does this mean? It means that the desire for love, the desire for fulfillment, the desire to share a life with another is natural and good, but that to direct it towards someone of the same sex is misdirecting it. Why? This has been pointed out in the very creation of the human being. Heterosexual sex is 1)Open to the possibility of life (notice sex is not all about procreation, but that procreation is an intended natural consequence for sex and one needs to at least be open to the possibility of it to maintain a pure sexual act) 2)Heterosexuals physically compliment eachother (it's in the natural physical design.)

    So is it a choice -- bigger question -- does it matter?

    Regardless of this, the Catechism calls homosexuals NOT to some crazy re-orienting program, but to chastity. What does this mean? It doesn't mean save sex til marriage. The Church is very clear that homosexual acts are disordered, and wouldn't promote that at all. It means live a LIFE of chastity.

    All things considered -- sex is not the end all be all of life (though you might not know it with the culture today) and LOVE is a virtue, not sex, and not an emotion. Emotions come and go and are philosophically not even supposed to be in control...the intellect and will are supposed to be masters of the passions. That makes keeps love as a choice to put yourself AFTER somebody else.

    When it comes to "bible thumpers"...
    Forget it. In my experience, they are usually misdirected anyways. What matters most is seeing truth for what it really is. Seeing truth can often hurt us and offend us because today we're much more keen on not offending people than seeing them live out a vocation to beatitude and living as Christ lived IN TRUTH.

    Know that no one can damn you or even confidently (and truthfully) call homosexuals abominations. They're not. A lot of my friends are homosexuals and they're the best people I know. Does that mean that their actions are

    Please know of my prayers for you and for your situation. I pray that people stop the abuses of all homosexuals as well.

    Peace In Christ.

  14. AnonymousJuly 10, 2011

    This is rather aggrivating hearing some of the posts here. But here I go.

    I believe homosexuality is a choice. I am a heterosexual, I live a heterosexual lifestyle. That is my choice and I stick to it. I get it that you are born gay, but that doesn't mean you HAVE to live a homosexual lifestyle. That's why it's a choice. Just because I'm straight doesn't mean I have to live a heterosexual lifestyle. I just do.

    Secondly, people saying that the animal kingdom is proof that homosexuality is not a choice. You have no idea what you're talking about. Animals of the same gender mount eachother as a sign of dominance. Other animals do it to avoid conflict with one another. Animals, commit incest, kill their young and commit cannibalism. If humans are so in tune with animals, then why aren't those acts acceptable? And please don't tell me they're illegal, if it's acceptable in the animal kingdom then there should be no problem with humans doing those very acts.

    But I'll be called a "bigot". Guilty as charged I guess. Liberals confuse the truth with hate becuase they hate the truth. And the sad thing is that it works.

  15. AnonymousJuly 12, 2011

    if homosexuality is a choice then all people are homosexuals that chose to live heterosexual lifestyles.

  16. Strait or otherwise you choose who you sleep with. Attraction is also a decision. A person can fall in and out of love with a mate, be physically attractive to a person and then realize that they really don't care for them or even not be physically attracted but later fall in love.

    Animals can not be considered equivalent to humans. We can not physically change out sex like some fish or frogs, eat our young like cats, kill rivals of territory, engage in incest or rape each other for procreation like animals do without a moral issue emerging. This is because we have a long term conscience of our actions and we have to answer to God for these actions. Animals do not. Animals are used for food and companionship.

    The Bible says that living in sin is wrong. Being addicted is a sin as well. So drinking, smoking, coffee and other addicting things are a sin. Playing music that doesn't honor God, stealing a pencil and committing a murder is sin. The Bible also states in many places that homosexuality and premarital sex is a sin. However it also states that all sin is equal to each other. This means that every sin can be forgiven and levels of sin is not God made but rather a man made measurement of wrongness. All have fallen short, sinned, all must be forgiven and all are loved by God.

    The comment has been made that certain aspects of the Bible are outdated. Is this true or do we as humans only want to follow the rules that we feel are easiest to follow. Or is it simply a matter of people wanting to feel better about the rules they break compared to others?

    There has been talk about certain rules of the old testament that were lifted when the veil was broken. I believe one of these regarded the sacrificing of animals but I am unsure if it pertained to other old testament rules. I will look this up shortly. If anyone is interested I will repost what I find.

    Love you

  17. I want to thank all of you for your comments, for they all have helped me understand the issue and my conclusion much better. Especially you anonymous.