Case For Legal Recognition
6. Sexual orientation
Although it had roots in the French Revolution,
the movement for more humane treatment of gays and lesbians really began in Central
Europe in the 19th century, when the notion of homosexuality as an
innate medical condition was proposed. The enduring notion had been that homosexual
acts were the willful and immoral acts of persons who we today would call heterosexuals.
Engaging in such acts resulted from an excessive or depraved sexual appetite,
and were sinful acts. One need look no further than the reasons of Justice McClung
in Vriend v. Alberta to realize that this view still has its
followers today. However, gradually, the prevailing scientific view came to be
that some people have a homosexual or bisexual orientation that is not chosen.
For homosexuals, it is heterosexual acts that are against their nature.
Just as Christians no longer view as heresy the notion that the earth revolves
around the sun, so too do many believe that Christian thinking about the moral
nature of homosexual acts must be revised in light of our modern understanding
about sexuality. The only passage in the Bible where lesbian acts are condemned
illustrates this issue well. It is in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul was
clearly influenced by the associations between idol worship and cultural practices
he abhorred, including the widely accepted practice of homosexual acts. He also
refers to “burning lust” and “turning”, both reflective of the ancient ideas that
homosexual acts resulted from a surfeit of lust, and that Roman pagans were so
oversexed that they indulged in homosexual acts to satisfy their lusts. Although
there are still some fundamentalists who would share this view of homosexual acts
as the deliberate choice of sinful heterosexuals, it has no respectable scientific
support any longer. Given that fact, many liberal theologians argue that the Bible
is silent on “homosexuality”, that is, a sexual orientation that is innate. Basic
Christian teachings about love and respect for all would thus indicate that condemnation
of homosexuals is morally wrong.
  A.J. No. 182 (C.A.)
 For further discussion,
see Boswell, supra note 5, Christianity at 107-14.