United States’ Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act against a court challenge, arguing among other things that
“A growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable.”
Something is immutable if it cannot change. Any evidence of change would negate this claim and there is ample evidence, that patterns of sexual attraction, orientation, and behavior can and have changed for many people.
For example, Lisa Diamond’s 2008 book Sexual Fluidity presents evidence of the mutability of same-sex identification. Diamond is fully committed to the gay agenda and expresses concern that her study could be used by those opposing that agenda. Her concern is justified, since she presents evidence of substantial change among women who have had sex with women.
Ms. Diamond conducted a longitudinal study of women who were involved in same-sex relationships. She was able to follow 79 women for 10 years, contacting each woman every 2 years. At each contact the women were asked to categorize themselves as lesbian, bisexual, unlabeled and heterosexual. By the end of the 10 year follow-up 2/3s of the women had changed their self-identification at least once, some several times.
These changes occurred in all directions. According to Diamond
“About 57% of bisexual-unlabeled women pursued progressively more sexual contact with men than women over the ten years of the study.” “…only three women reported that they were 100 percent attracted to women and each assessment…”
On the other hand, four of the women now considered themselves transgendered and were living at least some of the time as men, although one is attracted to gay men.
The changes appear to be spontaneous and a number of women were open to the possibility that they would change their self-identification in the future.
There is also evidence that therapy can affect same-sex attraction. Elaine Siegel, in her book Female Homosexuality: Choice without Volition,was asked to treat 12 women, members of a women’s center at a local university, who self-identified as homosexual. Siegel did not set out to ‘cure’ her clients, nor were the clients interested in changing their orientation. However, as the clients’ conflicts were resolved and anxiety reduced, half of the women because fully heterosexual. The result surprised Siegel since for her:
“To be a liberal and liberated woman and yet to view homosexuality as a the result of untoward development seemed at times a betrayal of all I then believed.”
As the treatment when on she realized that addressing these women’s psychological problems changed their pattern of sexual attraction.
The possibility of change of orientation has a direct effect on the marriage debate, for how can a permanent relationship be based on a transient state. Consider the case of Lisa Miller, who gave birth to a daughter by artificial insemination while in a lesbian relationship. After the baby’s birth, Miller left her partner, returned to her Christian faith, and now considers herself an ex-lesbian. Her partner sued for joint custody and won even though, the couple was not married and the partner had not adopted the child. When Miller refused to allow her partner visitation because the visits upset her daughter, the court transferred custody to the partner. Miller and her daughter fled the country and are now believed to be hiding in South America. The U.S. Justice Department has made tracking down Miller and taking away her daughter a priority. Miller is not the only self-identified lesbian who decided after having a baby that she wasn’t a lesbian.
While many people believe that human beings can be divided into three separate, mutually exclusive, and unalterable categories: heterosexuals, homosexual males (gay men), and homosexual females (lesbian), there is a wide variety of patterns of sexual attraction and change over time is common, particularly among women. The majority of those who engage in same-sex behavior have also engaged in other sex behavior and often continue to do so.
Holder’s claim that sexual orientation is immutable is not supported.