A biological view

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In response to the Rev. John A. Porter, rector of Grace Anglican Church, who shared his religious views that it is only a male-female union that is approved by God to produce children in the image of God ("Male-Female Unions Reproduce the Image of God," April 19 letters): I disagree for several reasons, but will only state here my professional biological perspective.

Biologists know that a person's "sex" is not always so easily defined as being male or female and to attempt to categorize everyone in this simplistic manner is a mistake. Although most "males" are genetically XY and "females" XX, there are exceptions to this, e.g., XO, XXY, XYY, XXX. A person can even be XY and appear female because they don't have the receptors for the male hormone, testosterone. A person can be transgendered as a result of their biology, as the brain has various receptors and locations for "sex hormones." There is strong biological evidence for a person's being "gay" or for being on a continuum of "gay" to "straight." This can be genetic and/or hormonal.

Are people who don't fit the biblical stereotype of a male or female to be denied equal rights to marry whom they love? The Bible was not written by people who understood the biological basis of human sexual identity and orientation. The government should not deny same-sex marriages to people who might not fit a rigid stereotype of a "male" or "female." We most likely don't understand the biological basis of the person's sexual orientation and should treat everyone equally.

Religious institutions can decide whom they permit to marry but not impose their beliefs upon the government.


The writer is professor of biology, emeritus, Westminster College, New Wilmington. His specialty is endocrinology and developmental biology.



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