Even if science does prove that a "gay gene" exists, one ex-gay says it doesn't change anything for him.
Randy Thomas – executive vice president of Exodus International, one of the world's largest outreaches to those affected by unwanted homosexual attraction – has been free from same-sex desires for some 15 years.
He said he was once an out-and-proud gay man who was fully supportive of gay socio/political goals but has now embraced a healthy heterosexual approach to relationships.
"If they prove that a 'gay gene' exists in my DNA, why then aren't those genes controlling my life now?" Thomas posed in a column on WorldNetDaily.
New research is being conducted at Northwestern University in Chicago in a search for genetic clues to the origins of homosexuality. The federally-funded study, reported to be the largest study to date seeking genes that may influence whether people are gay, will rely on blood or saliva samples of 1,000 pairs of gay brothers.
Lead researcher Dr. Alan Sanders of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute believes it is more likely there are several genes along with nongenetic factors that influence sexual orientation rather than one "gay gene."
But "if there's one gene that makes a sizable contribution, we have a pretty good chance" of finding it, said Sanders, according to The Associated Press.
And if no genetic markers are found, Sanders says that won't mean genetics play no role but that it may mean individual genes have a smaller effect.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International and a former homosexual, said even if genetics are found to play a bigger role, it "will never be something that forces people to behave a certain way," according to AP.
"We all have the freedom to choose," said Chambers.
For Thomas, homosexuality is also a choice. He says if a "gay gene" is discovered, it "did not impede my ability to pursue such a dramatic change" from homosexuality to a heterosexuality.
"The truth is that we all have the freedom to make decisions about our sexual behavior," he said. "I've chosen to live in congruence with my faith."
To most Christians, homosexual behavior is a sin.
Earlier this year, a pre-eminent evangelical had caused uproar among conservatives when he suggested that there is a possibility that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven. The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stressed a big "if" when stating that Christians should not be surprised if science were ever to discover a correlation or causation with biological factors.
He also stated that if such a discovery were made, it would not change God's condemnation of all forms of homosexual behavior, essentially saying that homosexuality would remain a sin.
"Regardless of any actual or hypothetical orientation, those who commit same-sex acts are responsible for the choice to commit the sinful act. Those who claim that they did not choose their sexual attraction are nevertheless fully responsible for choosing to perform sexual acts the Bible condemns as sin – period," Mohler stated in his blog in March, while acknowledging that "the fact remains" that some persons are sexually attracted to the same sex.
And some, like Thomas, have chosen to embrace their faith and leave homosexuality.
A recent study by Stanton L. Jones of Wheaton College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University showed that change for homosexual persons is possible. Although not all successfully "converted," 15 percent of the sample claimed to have changed their sexual orientation, substantially reducing their homosexual desire and acquiring heterosexual attraction, the study revealed.
What turned Thomas around from his identity as a gay man was a relationship with Jesus Christ and the help of Exodus, he said.
"I now live a content life as a single man and fulfilled, hopeful individual," said Thomas. "Genetics? No big deal to me. I remember who I was, and more importantly – I know who I am now."