Gov. Rick Perry of Texas caused a rustle and a stir in a San Francisco audience the other day when he answered a question about whether he thinks homosexuality is a genetic disorder. His answer wasn't particularly out of the ordinary, or even remarkable in the places where most of us live, but he created an opportunity for the not-so-gay lobby to feign outrage.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not," Mr. Perry told the Commonwealth Club of California, "you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."
The governor phrased his remark similarly in 2008 in his book, "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For," in which he concedes that he's no expert on "nature versus nurture." But even if sexual preference proves to be genetic, he said, that "does not mean we are ultimately not responsible for the active choices we make."
The organized homosexuals cite genetics as validation for an "anything goes" code of morality, asserting that such is the inevitable destiny of biology. Mr. Perry takes the approach of the Southern Baptist Convention, which a day earlier adopted a resolution that extended "love and compassion" to men who want to trade their gentleman parts for synthetic lady parts.
The Southern Baptists, in convention assembled in Baltimore, condemned, rightly in our view, the bullying of transgendered persons, and recommended to members of their congregations to "regard [their] transgender neighbors as image-bearers of the Almighty God." This was not an endorsement of conduct, the delegates said, and to identify as transgender is "contrary to God's design."
The delegates thought it necessary to affirm the obvious, that there are "two distinct and complementary sexes." This might upset companies like Facebook, which sets out 50 varieties for its users to choose from. "He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation," the Baptist resolution asserted. "Distinction in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order ... ."
Despite the hubbub in Baghdad by the Bay, as a famous San Francisco columnist described the lavender city, and on the Huffington Post, Mr. Perry isn't backing down. Texas Republicans at their annual state convention approved a party-platform plank in support of the therapy for those who seek to restrain homosexual urges. Asked by the CNBC cable network Monday whether such psychotherapy can change a homosexual into a heterosexual, Mr. Perry said he would "leave that to the psychologists and doctors."
The organized homosexuals have denounced "reparative therapy" as "quackery" and have persuaded legislatures in California and New Jersey to make trying it against the law. The lower house of the New York Legislature on Monday approved a similar ban on conversion therapy, but the legislature adjourns Thursday and the state Senate may not have time to vote on it.
Reparative therapy undermines the argument that "it's all genetic, so you can't blame me for my actions." It's refreshing to see the Baptists and the governor standing up to the shrill and the noisy to defend traditional morality and individual responsibility, which in the current sordid climate often dare not speak their name.