This is all probably very elementary and self-evident. However, these are some of the thoughts that I've had recently, given that three individual states have recently passed legislation that extends marriage to same sex couples bringing the total to twelve states... and the inevitable wailing about those decisions from some quarters.
In my opinion... the whole debate over homosexuality itself can be condensed into whether someone thinks that homosexuality is a predilection for sin, or conversely, one of many variants of human sexuality.
Some people- mostly for religious reasons- believe and teach that homosexuality is simply a predilection to sin. For some, only acting on it is sinful; for others the very predilection is sinful. Some Christians, especially Catholics, have adopted their own nomenclature, preferring to describe homosexuals (gay people) as "same sex attracted," or suffering with "same sex attraction," forming their own bio-theological diagnostic disorder.
Other people- whether religious or not- believe and teach that homosexuality is simply a variant of human sexuality. It is not "the norm," in that the majority of the population is heterosexual. That it occurs naturally, and it is not a disorder. The cause(s) for this variant of sexuality are, as of yet, undetermined, but there is strong evidence that the answer is a combination of "nature and nurture." Multidisciplinary research also indicates that homosexuality is not a disorder, and that being gay is not disordered behavior. Gay people are, according to medical and psychological professionals, a class of people with a different sexual orientation who, due to social and cultural norms, also tend to populate a strong subculture with its own norms and values.
As I have said, research indicates that homosexuality is not a disorder, and that gay relationships are not disordered behavior. Theology, on the other hand, covers a multitude of opinions. According to some, homosexuality is sinful, and that can be demonstrated by scripture (Abrahamic religions most especially fall into this category). Other religious theologies reason that specific passages in scripture have been misinterpreted or misapplied, and can point to many other issues where there is general consensus that this is the case.
So should gay people have access to the same rights and privileges that straight people can access? Does discrimination based upon one's religious convictions rightly supersede what science and research have revealed about homo- and heterosexuality?
Is it acceptable to "disagree?" Is is right or just to discriminate, even in the face of a growing body of research and study?
When do the rights of those who disagree end and the rights of those who are discriminated against begin?
These are difficult questions for some people. And they are questions that require conversation if we are to make any progress on this issue.
Peace and love.