This raises an interesting point: do we have to stick with just two polar opposite views?
Most gay rights advocates argue that they are “born that way”, or that they are the way God (or nature) made them.
The counterargument often raised is that there is little evidence of being “born” gay, but that homosexuality is the result of environmental factors, choice or both.
Isn’t it possible that a third option is more accurate?
Let me use an analogy from a condition that we are much more familar with: alcoholism.
A lot of us drink, but not all of us are addicted.
There is fairly good scientific evidence - much better than for a “gay gene” - that alcoholism has a genetic component, and several possible “candidate genes” have been identified in human research.
There is equally good evidence that learning and environment play a role. A boy who grows up with an alcoholic father (particularly if said father is not egregiously abusive - a “high-functioning” alcoholic) may learn that this is the status quo. Similarly, cultures that encourage the use of “soft” forms of liquor (such as wine) have many drinkers but few alcoholics, while cultures that encourage “hard” drinks have many alcoholics, and many teetotallers. (Similarly, a sexualized and polarized culture might bring homosexual behaviour to the surface, in people who already lean that way due to genes or life experience.)
A complex condition like homosexuality cannot be reduced either to “oh, it’s the gay gene, we’re made that way”, or “it’s all because of abuse / a poor male role model / etc.”
Biology is not destiny. I know this because I’ve known several people who have a “family history” of alcoholism, but are able to maintain strict limits on their drinking.
Neither is Freudianism (or neo-Freudianism) the gospel truth. Simplistic views of homosexuality as being caused by your mother and father are as unscientific as “the gay gene”.
And free will must never be discounted. If an alcoholic wants to quit, he will eventually do so, despite many failed attempts. If he sees nothing wrong with his drinking, no therapy or medication is going to help him.
The Church nails this when it recognizes that a homosexual orientation (like a genetic orientation to become alcoholic) is disordered, but not sinful. It’s the acts themselves that are considered sinful. (Similarly, being tempted to drink is not a sin; drinking beyond the point of moderation is.)
The bottom line is that no single “ex-gay” therapy can “cure” everyone, just as there is no “magic pill” or therapy for all alcoholics. Different people require different blends of psychological, spiritual and (perhaps) biological assistance. But giving up the hope of change, just because one model has been debunked, is unfair, and denies basic Catholic teaching on hope, sexuality and free will.
After all, “with God all things are possible”.