But the march of science into the gay brain hasn't stopped. It has continued, seeking to understand not just what doesn't cause homosexuality—playing with dolls, growing up with a strong mother, watching Will and Grace—but what does. And the more we understand these biological factors, the closer we get to being able to change them.
If the idea of chemically suppressing homosexuality in the womb horrifies you, I have bad news: You won't be in the room when it happens. Parents control medical decisions, and surveys indicate that the vast majority of them would be upset to learn that their child was gay. Already, millions are screening embryos and fetuses to eliminate those of the "wrong" sex. Do you think they won't screen for the "wrong" sexual orientation, too?
Liberals are slow to see what's coming. They're still fighting the culture war. The Toronto Star, like other papers, finds a neuroscientist who thinks the new study "should erode the moral judgments often made against homosexual preferences and rebut any argument that it is a mere a lifestyle choice." Well, yes. But then what? The reduction of homosexuality to neurobiology doesn't mean your sexual orientation can't be controlled. It just means the person controlling it won't be you.
I don't think liberals or gay activists have been "slow to see what's coming" -- it's been a subtext to discussions about genetic and biological causes of homosexuality for a long time, and even spawned the ever-more-prescient The Twilight of the Golds -- but I do think they have been slow to accept the inevitability because of what it implies politically. Even if hormonal "treatment" for potentially gay fetuses is ineffective or deterred by unwanted side effects, there's always the abortion option. And it's not just parents who think homosexuality is an undesirable outcome like Down's Syndrome who will use it -- the educated and liberal Baby Einstein crowd who pipe Mozart into pregnant bellies and who are loathe to start their babies off with any perceived disadvantage would quietly, but certainly, abort a lot of "disadvantaged" fetuses.
Science moves ever faster, and it looks ever more likely that it will expose ethical and political fault lines within the gay and lesbian community -- do we try to limit, discourage or even ban selective abortion? Or does that remain anathema to gay politics? It's becoming clear that at some point, we're going to have to make that choice.