The Disease that Dare Not Speak its Name

Governor Romney’s legal counsel has advised justices of the peace to quit now or forever hold their peace. We also have a handy 1913 law that will prohibit non-residents from marrying in Massachusetts if their home states forbid homosexual marriage. The Article 8 Alliance is working on removing the offending judges from the Supreme Judicial Court before May 17th.

I’m a Romney fan and also an Orson Scott Card fan, but I never expected to bring the two of them together in one blog entry. I accidentally stumbled over an article by OSC about Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization. He makes all the standard con points, but being a great writer he does it better than I’ve seen elsewhere. Take, for example, the timeless lines:

Supporters of homosexual “marriage” dismiss warnings like mine as the predictable ranting of people who hate progress. But the Massachusetts Supreme Court [sic] has made its decision without even a cursory attempt to ascertain the social costs. The judges have taken it on faith that it will do no harm.
You can’t add a runway to an airport in America without years of carefully researched environmental impact statements. But you can radically reorder the fundamental social unit of society without political process or serious research.

I wonder if OSC knows that adding runways to Logan Airport was, until homosexual marriage, the hottest topic at the SJC, or if the irony is entirely accidental.

Like OSC, I’m of the let-the-dead-marry-their-dead persuasion:

The proponents of this anti-family revolution are counting on most Americans to do what they have done through every stage of the monstrous social revolution that we are still suffering through — nothing at all.
But that “nothing” is deceptive. In fact, the pro-family forces are already taking their most decisive action. It looks like “nothing” to the anti-family, politically correct elite, because it isn’t using their ranting methodology.
The pro-family response consists of quietly withdrawing allegiance from the society that is attacking the family.

So when I blog about gay marriage, as I have a few times already, my interest is not a literal interest in what happens to the culture - I’ve withdrawn my mental funds from that bank - but the detached sociological interest of an aspiring sci-fi writer and all-around INTP. For me, the most notable point OSC made was when he touched briefly on the myth that homosexuals are “born that way” - he gives more credit to direct environmental influences such as seduction and abuse.

So far it looks like the classic nature/nurture debate, but there’s a third possible explanation: homosexuality could be, quite literally, a disease - an infectious disease caused by a pathogen. That’s part of the thesis put forth in Infectious causation of disease: an evolutionary perspective. It’s a big PDF with only a few paragraphs on homosexuality, so let me summarize:

Homosexuality does not follow the usual pattern of genetic expression (for example, high correlation between identical twins), nor can such a counter-reproductive strategy sustain itself in the gene pool. Whether or not you consider genetic abnormalities a disease, homosexuality isn’t directly genetic. (See the article for more about what can and cannot be attributed to genetic causes.) Like many people, the scientists speculate that normal heterosexual drives are too strong for purely cultural influences to overcome - that is, the gay man is to be believed when he says that he is just that way. (And homosexual sheep have no gay culture to account for their tendencies.) So if he’s just that way, but wasn’t born that way, how did he get that way?

Enter the pathogen. The authors speculate that homosexuality, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, various cancers, and other diseases have unknown infectious causes. Like ulcers, these diseases show a certain statistical incidence which will eventually be traced back to pathogens, and cured. Like MS, homosexuality may be the result of an untraceable childhood infection.

Thus say the scientists. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter all that much whether homosexuality is genetic, infectious, environmental, or all of the above, because in principle (which is short for in the future) such factors can be corrected. Given the opportunity to cure the common gay, heterosexual parents will choose to do so.

The only refuge of homosexuality from science is the option no one is buying, not even OSC - that is, that being gay is purely a personal lifestyle choice. Anything that isn’t a choice is susceptible to a future cure. Strangely enough, lesbians are less likely to attribute their orientation to genetic or environmental influences. They may not even have the nameless disease, if there is a disease.

4 Responses to “The Disease that Dare Not Speak its Name”

  1. Lori Says:

    You left out the Kinsey scale - it ain’t a sheep-or-goat matter, or so sayeth Kinsey.

    Are bisexuals homosexuals with het leanings, or heterosexuals with homo leanings?

  2. mike hollihan Says:

    “Are bisexuals homosexuals with het leanings, or heterosexuals with homo leanings?”

    Mild, chronic infection? ;-)

    Jemima, I seem to recall a study that showed that homosexuality tended to follow a matrilineal route? That is, that it was passed down through mothers? How would that fit in with the “disease” theory?

  3. Jemima Says:

    No one mentioned Kinsey in the articles I read, probably because better data has come along since his unrepresentative samples. For example, male rape in prisons is not the work of homosexuals - see the Human Rights Watch report at for more information.

    The Kinsey scale does not fall on a normal curve, even according to his suspect numbers, which were: 4-6% exclusively homosexual (6 on his scale), 5% total for 4 and 5 on the scale, and 8% at 3, the bisexual midpoint of his scale. I’ve seen some slightly different numbers, but they show the same suspicious dropoff for 4 and 5 on the Kinsey scale.

    Not fitting a normal curve means that (male) homosexuality isn’t just the tail end of a range of sexual behaviors. I’m guessing it’s more likely that bisexuality is the tail end of either the range of homosexual or of heterosexual behaviors. In either case there are still more homosexuals than genetics alone can account for.

  4. Jemima Says:

    I don’t think a chronic infection is the answer. The scientific article gave a positively spooky case for infection-induced changes in the schizophrenic brain long before onset of symptoms. Once the brain is altered, there’s no going back.

    Another interesting idea in the article was that maternal infections caused Turner’s syndrome (XO) and certain other cases of whole chromosomes being misplaced. So when I say that homosexuals aren’t born that way, I mean it in a strictly evolutionary sense. They could in fact be born that way due to genetic changes in the original egg or somatic damage in the womb. That could explain a strong maternal link, though I haven’t heard of one.