The gay advocacy movement has gained enormous ground in the last forty years, creating a culturally positive outlook toward homosexuals and their lifestyles. [ MORE ]
Some members of the Church view homosexuality as innate and unchangeable—a trait that God made integral to their identity. This idea stands in stark contrast to core gospel teachings and our clinical experience. [ MORE ]
The Gay Advocacy Movement
Historically, homosexual men and women have been subjected to persecution and mistreatment. Society considered them to be ill, churches called them “evil,” and psychologists referred to them as “perverts.” In the late 1960s, homosexuals became organized around the goal of ending this mistreatment. This was the birth of the modern worldwide gay rights movement.
This movement has been highly effective in shifting public opinion toward acceptance of homosexuality. It can be assumed that the media have played a substantial role in this by their extensive and favorable portrayals of gays and lesbians. A recent Gallup poll found that 65% of young Americans today believe homosexual relations are morally acceptable. Even among conservative religious young Americans 41% considered homosexual relations morally acceptable. Gallup’s shows a steady and continual increase over many years in the acceptance of homosexual relations. Similar trends were found by this research for support of gay marriage. Many countries now permit marriage of same-sex couples.
Certain basic beliefs held by the public about homosexuality have become very skewed over the past several decades. Another Gallup poll found that young Americans ages 18 to 29 believe, on average, that 30% of the population is gay or lesbian. The real statistic is 3.4%. When asked about the causes of homosexuality, 40% of Americans said they believe it is an inborn trait. This is despite the fact that science has produced no reliable evidence to suggest homosexuality is inborn. (For more on this see What Causes Male Homosexuality?)
Currently, a large number of the world’s major medical and psychological organizations discourage or even prohibit therapies aimed at helping those with unwanted same-sex attraction to shift their sexuality. In May 2012, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) released a position statement calling therapies aimed at helping individuals diminish their homosexual feelings “a serious threat to the health and well-being—even the lives—of affected people.” They recommended that those who offer help for unwanted same-sex attraction “should be denounced and subject to adequate sanctions” and they called for “civil vigilance to…. help to identify and report people and institutions involved in the administration of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion therapies.’”
As a whole, gay advocacy groups are well funded. According to a recent report by Funders for LGBTQ Issues, foundation giving for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues totaled $123 million in 2011. This was a 27% increase from 2010. Another report by the same organization reveals that total giving to LGBTQ organizations and projects from 1970 through 2011 totaled more than $894 million. By the end of 2012, LGBTQ causes will have spent well over one billion dollars promoting their causes.
Gay Advocacy Within The Church
Some members of the Church have become strong proponents of understanding and accepting homosexuality. Many of these gay-affirmation advocates assume that the Church will eventually recognize same-sex relationships as valid and worthy, and that the blessings of temple marriage will be extended to gay and lesbian couples.
The main LDS-related gay-affirming organization is called Affirmation (www.affirmation.org). The following is from their website:
- “We affirm that sexual orientation, identity, and expression are special gifts from God and that we are all children of loving Heavenly Parents.
- We believe that our lives and relationships can be compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, and that LGBT individuals are a special part of God’s Creation.
- We reject the concept that orientation and identity can be changed, and believe that same-sex relationships are entitled to the same recognition and blessings as heterosexual relationships.”