Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?


Albert Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, asked these headline questions in his blog last week and sparked something of a media storm. Rev. Mohler was speculating that one day it might be possible to identify in the womb fetuses that have a higher chance of having a homosexual orientation. He further suggested that if such factors could be identified, perhaps it might be possible to treat such fetuses before they are born in way that nudges their orientation back toward heterosexuality. Should parents take advantage of such treatments?

Not surprisingly, some gay activists likened him to Nazi monster Josef Mengele for seeming to advocate the manipulation of nature to "basically wipe out gay people." Let's be clear, Rev. Mohler is a staunch opponent of abortion; he is pondering the possibility of some kind of biomedical intervention that reduces the chances that a fetus might turn out gay.

In absolutely no way do I endorse his theology nor his notion that homosexual sex is sinful (whatever that means), but Rev. Mohler's questions are reasonable ones to contemplate. It may turn out that there is no way to identify sexual orientation in the womb thus making his questions moot. But what if it is possible? Should the government restrict the reproductive choices of parents in order to make sure that a certain percentage of people are "born" gay? Evolutionary psychology suggests that parents (that is people who, by definition, want to reproduce) will prefer to give birth to children who are more likely to give them grandchildren.

In the alternative, it is possible in a world grown more accepting of gay sexuality that it will also be more welcoming of gay parenthood. If the differential in grandchild production between straight and gay offspring narrows, parents will be less likely to worry about the sexual orientation of their children.

In any case, Mohler is right to ask these questions.

Disclosure: Oops. Also forgot. My wife and I are members of Equality Virginia and donated several hundred dollars to its recent campaign against Virginia's idiotic state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.