Reuters is reporting today a study claiming male sexual orientation is determined in the womb before birth. This “sexual orientation-maternal immune response” theory suggests a mother’s reaction to her male fetus is see as a “foreign body” in her body and her immune system goes into subconscious overdrive to purge the male within her.
The effect of that maternal immune system purging is the birth of a Gay male baby and birth order has a lot to do with this sexual orientation determination:
Past research by Dr. Anthony F. Bogaert of Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario and colleagues has shown that the more older brothers a man has, the more likely he is to be gay. But it has not been clear if this is a prenatal effect or a psychosocial effect, related to growing up with older male siblings.
A woman’s body may see a male fetus as “foreign,” Bogaert explains, and her immune response to subsequent male fetuses may grow progressively stronger. “If this immune theory were correct, then the link between the mother’s immune reaction and the child’s future sexual orientation would probably be some effect of maternal anti-male antibodies on the sexual differentiation of the brain,” he suggests.
This “Gay in the Womb” issue raises many interesting questions. If male babies are born Gay because of a mother’s immune system response, does that mean being Gay is no longer a lifestyle choice since it is now a scientifically provable genetic marker? Would Gay males who are the only male child in the family be less protected by the law than a Gay male who is the fourth born male?
The study doesn’t address female Gay babies. Is it possible Gay men might have greater constitutional protections than Gay women because of this scientific study? Are we tumbling down a sticky well if there is no provable scientific link between the womb and the “lifestyle choice” when it comes to lesbians? How will those against homosexuality respond to this scientific study? Will they use the mother’s immune system response to suggest that, even in the womb, the Gay male child is rejected by his mother before birth and, therefore, is an aberration not to be welcomed or tolerated?
Does this study provide immediate relief for the argument against males marrying? If these Gay men were “born that way” through no choice of their own, isn’t it discriminatory to deny them marriage rights and equal protections provided to traditional male/female relationships? Would some religious conservatives try to use this study to support the idea of abortions for late birth-order rank male fetuses?