Same-sex marriage: The psychological effect

Has it been truly established that some people are born homosexuals? Photo: AP

SAN DIEGO, June 8, 2013 — Although most high-profile conservatives are probably compassionate when they discuss their concerns about same-sex marriage, some dance around the issue to the point of incoherence. On one hand, they express concern about children needing the benefit of a two parent/two gender upbringing. At the same time, they have bought into the notion that people are “born gay.” Consequently, there is nothing wrong with homosexual feelings or actions. In short, they are willing to call gay marriage wrong but they are unwilling to call homosexuality itself wrong.

Continued from Same-sex marriage: The legal effect

Let’s be clear: If there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, either morally or psychologically, then it logically follows that there is nothing wrong with homosexual marriage. Gay marriage advocates are correct in pointing out this glaring inconsistency to their conservative challengers.

Unfortunately, internal consistency, or lack thereof, begs the more obvious question: Is there something wrong with homosexuality? There was a time when most psychologists and psychiatrists said yes. Their purpose was not to make anyone feel unwarranted guilt, but they did believe homosexual feelings and actions were not normal to mentally healthy people. For that reason, encouraging a homosexual marriage would have been considered emotionally unhealthy.

SEE RELATED: Same-sex marriage: Can one disagree without being viewed as hateful?

This was the widespread teaching of the American Psychiatric Association for many years, but the tide began to change in the early seventies. Many people are unaware of the circumstances which led to homosexuality being declassified as an emotional disorder by the APA in 1973.

You may never have heard about the pressure from gay activists and gay psychiatrists who were involved in the meetings, or the counter push from those who felt differently. You should know that the discussions leading to the vote were political and instilled a good deal of fear.

In fact, so extended was the pressure that only one third of the ballots sent out were ever returned. Out of those returned, only 58 percent agreed to declassify homosexuality as a disorder. Just 58 percent out of the one third returned. Today’s spin concentrates on the bottom line that the vote, however it was done, chose to declassify homosexuality as a disorder in the DSM3.

Prior to this time, homosexuals not only sought help from psychologists but also received healing. Dr. Charles Socarides, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who had successfully treated gays for more than 20 years was a part of the APA. In his book, Overcoming Homosexuality, he claimed that the militant gay movement was responsible for “the greatest medical hoax of the century.”  

SEE RELATED: If you think same-sex marriage won’t affect your family, think again

Although doctors in attendance at the 1973 conference continued to argue long afterward about the proportion of study verses politics, Ronald Bayer, a psychiatrist who took the view in opposition to Socarides, corroborates the political atmosphere in his own book, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis.

“The entire process, from the first confrontations organized by gay demonstrators at psychiatric conventions, to the referendum demanded by orthodox psychiatrists, seemed to violate the most basic expectations about how questions of science should be resolved. Instead of being engaged in a sober consideration of data, psychiatrists were swept up in political controversy.”

Although, many gay people sincerely claim that they cannot remember a time when they weren’t attracted to the same sex, that does not necessarily mean they were born homosexuals. Elizabeth Moberly, a research Psychologist for Oxford and Cambridge, explains this in her book, Homosexuality, A New Christian Ethic, pointing out that people absorb their key influences of sexual orientation between the ages of 2 and 5, a time in life most of us would not remember anyway.

Even molecular biologist Dean Hammer who headed one of the famous studies which sought to find genetic explanations said, “Our studies try to pinpoint the genetic factors, not to negate the psycho-social factors” (Time Magazine, Nov. 13, 1995).

It may someday be discovered that there are two types of homosexuality, a learned behavior and a genetic predisposition. In either case the homosexual in all likelihood did not choose his/her sexual orientation and should not be blamed for inward feelings or impulses. Likewise, in either case, the acting out of such impulses would still be unnatural behavior. It is believed that one can be born with a predisposition toward alcoholism too, but we would not encourage an alcoholic to drink.

None of this means that homosexuals are bad people. But while today’s gay activists point to themselves as victims for not being able to legally marry, they are unwilling to consider the fact that they may have been victimized in some other way, through the subtleties of various emotional influences. Maybe something happened in their upbringings which, through no fault of their own, produced homosexual impulses.

If a person has such tendencies and is not sure whether they stem from genetics or environment, what is wrong with seeking help from a counselor on the chance that it might be an acquired behavior?  And why should the desire to reach out and offer healing to such an individual be interpreted as hatred?

“If homosexuality is really so unnatural how come most people don’t view it that way?”

Maybe most people do. Maybe they have trouble admitting this because of today’s political climate which has been growing now for over four decades.

Have you ever seen a sitcom where two men danced or one man accidentally kissed another? We see it all the time. It’s a common device and we laugh every time; it’s an easy guaranteed laugh. Why do people laugh? Why do the writers obviously intend for people to laugh? If indeed we recognize the normality of same-sex interaction what exactly strikes us as humorous?

Centuries ago, Hans Christian Anderson illustrated the value of a simple childlike mind in his story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. Two charlatan tailors, wanting to trick the king out of his fortune, fashioned a set of “fine apparel.” There was one stipulation; only intelligent people could see these clothes. Of course the clothes didn’t really exist, so nobody ever really saw them. But nobody wanted to be thought unintelligent, either.

“If I can’t see the clothes” one reasoned to himself, “the problem must be with me. After all, every one else sees them.”

You remember the rest. At a grand parade one small child tugged his mother’s skirt and said, “But Mommy, he’s not wearing any clothes.”

Nakedness was once nakedness. Now, as the result of two clever tailors, the word “naked” in relation to the king was politically incorrect.

Could this same tailor have visited the United States? Maybe what we need today is an innocent child, like the one in the fairy tale; some red faced, nose running kid who hasn’t studied genetics, hasn’t studied psychology, and hasn’t had sensitivity training. All he knows is what he sees and feels. Maybe if something looks unnatural, it is unnatural. Maybe we all know the truth and are afraid to admit it. Maybe the king isn’t wearing any clothes.


Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Bob sometimes selects reader’s comments and responds to them on his radio show. Readers are free to call in and challenge Bob’s response over the air. Details of his program can be found at

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Bob Siegel

A graduate of Denver Seminary and San Jose State University, Bob Siegel is a radio talk show host and popular guest speaker at churches and college campuses across the country, using a variety of media including, seminars, formal debates, outdoor open forums, and one man drama presentations.

In addition to his own weekly radio show (KCBQ 1170, San Diego) Bob has been a guest on many other programs, including The 700 Club, Washington Times Radio's Inside the Story, The Rick Amato Show, KUSI Television's Good Morning San Diego, and the world popular Jonathan Park radio drama series, for which Bob guest starred in two episodes and wrote one episode, The Clue From Ninevah.

Bob is a regular contributor for San Diego Newsroom and San Diego Rostra. Bob does a good deal of playwriting as well (14 plays & 5 collaborations), including the award winning, Eternal Reach.  Bob has also published two books;  A Call To Radical Discipleship, and I'd Like to Believe In Jesus, But...

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