Sexual Ethics - Homosexuality

All you need to know about sexual ethics concerning homosexuality.

HideShow resource information


Homosexuals are men and women who have sexual feelings towards members of the same sex and identify themselves as being homosexual.

1 of 12

The Law

  • There is currently a growing acceptance of homosexuality
  • Regarded the same as heterosexuality between 2 consenting adults over the age of 16 in private
  • Present legislation has origins in the 1957 Wolfenden Committee Report which resulted in the Sexual Offences Act 1957 which helped end intolerance and inequality against homosexuals
  • It is a human rights issue:
    • March 2014 - UK government passed a law allowing homosexuals to marry
    • Many still believe it's immoral and some are openly hostile
2 of 12

The Cause - Still Not Fully Known

  • Sigmund Freud - "Personal disorder resulting from a person's failure to deal with repressed issues of sexuality from infancy...the cause can be traced back to the relationship between a child and his or her parents".
  • Supported by Elizabeth Moberly - "difficulties in the parent-child relationships, especially in the earlier years of life".
  • Many believe it's the result of an imbalance of hormones or a genetic predisposition.
  • A "homosexual gene" would help a lot to prove the condition is natural
  • Nina Rosenstand - "objections to homosexuality as a moral choice that goes against nature would no longer be reason to discriminate".
  • Critics of this think more dilemmas would arise from a gene. Parents may want to "screen" their children with the hope of finding a "cure".
  • Anthony Storr - "homosexuals have a vested interest in affirming that their condition is an inborn abnormality".
3 of 12

Christians For Homosexuality

  • Natural way some are created by God so welcomed into the Christian community
  • Church of England disrecommends physical expression but acknowledges the Church must respect those convinced they're homosexual and in a faithful relationship
  • The Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement - "human sexuality in all its richness is a gift from God gladly to be accepted, enjoyed and honoured". 
  • Methodist Church - "relationships characterised by love can be an appropriate and Christian way of expressing their sexuality".
  • Liberal members of the Church dismayed by withdrawal of acceptance by Canon Jeffrey John; Very Reverend Colin Slee - "Canon John has become the victim of appalling prejudice and abuse which has its main proponents within the Church of England".
4 of 12

Christians Against Homosexuality - Roman Catholic

  • Roman Catholic Church:
    • On a natural law basis, homosexual marriage invalid as it cannot lead to reproduction
    • Contrary to the will of God. In ancient scriptures, homosexuality condemned as "serious depravity and presented as a sad consequence of rejecting God".
  • Pope's Teachings:
    • Homosexuals should be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity and discrimination must be avoided
    • Feelings are not wrong, but putting them into practice is sinful
    • Encouraged to pray and seek help and support to live a life of chastity.
5 of 12

Christians Against Homosexuality - Church of Engla

  • Lambeth Conference of Bishops - Homosexual acts are "incompatible with scripture".
  • Declared that this policy would not be the final word and research would continue.
  • Canon Jeffery John:
    • July 2003 - Homosexual but celibate priest withdrew his acceptance of the offer to be Bishop of Reading.
    • Did this to avoid creating worldwide split in Anglican church.
    • Many Evangelicals were pleased:
    • Philip Giddings - "We are not free to discard what is said in the Bible, however unpopular".
6 of 12

Consequences: Schism

  • 2003 - Schism developed within Anglican church worldwide.
  • Happened between liberal churches of the West and traditional churches in Nigeria where homosexuality is illegal and some are stoned to death.
  • Nigerian Church opposed ordination of gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in the USA. 
  • President of Nigeria - "Such a tendancy is clearly un-Biblical, unnatural and definitely unAfrican".
  • 2005 - Nigerian church broke away from Western churches as they had strayed too far from homosexual biblical teachings.
  • Gene Robinson - "acceptance of gay and lesbian people into the life of the church is something that is going to will happen in God's time".
7 of 12

Bible Views In Favour Of Homosexuality

  • Burton Leiser - Sexual organs are for providing pleasure as well as reproduction. 
  • Paul's teaching - "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband".
  • Liberal Christians - Everyone is made in the image of God, so homosexuality must be in that image too because God would not have created "disordered" beings.
  • Bailey - Biblical views based on ancient cultures and traditions that are not relevant today.
8 of 12

Scholars In Favour Of Homosexuality

  • Burton Leiser - If the purpose of sex is reproduction, marriage between infertile or elderly couples must also be wrong.
  • Kate Saunders & Pater Stamford - Some Catholic cardinals express intolerant views and Church may be discriminatory in matters like teaching and abortion.
  • Arcigay - Italian gay rights organisation. Catholic Church's teachings may be a factor in violence and intolerance. 
  • Gareth Moore - Bible requires Christians to help and support those marginalised in society.
  • John Harris - Sexual activities are an issue of manners and etiquette rather than ethics. Homosexuality does not cause harm so should be free from moral and ethical judgements.
  • Religious Believers - Not an issue of sexual orientation, but of sexual activity. Former is not a choice but latter is.
  • Mark Bonnington and Bob Fyall - Solution lies in loving, non-genital, same-sex relationships.
9 of 12

Ethical Theories In Favour Of Homosexuality

  • Utilitarianism - No absolute right or wrongs as long as actions result in pleasure for people without unnecessary pain. If majority agree, it can be acceptable.
  • Situation Ethics - Denial of homosexuals' rights to marriage, relationships and sex is wrong as the possibility of a man having a reproductive relationship is not great nor is it desirable. Personalism, positivism and pragmatism, which is relevant to the case, shows us that love, not rule, is absolute.
10 of 12

Bible Views Against Homosexuality

  • God only approves of sexual relationships between married heterosexual partners.
  • Genesis 2:18 - Woman created especially for man.
  • Sexual relationship between partners is important aspect of marriage bond and requirement to reproduce. Homosexuality can be seen as unnatural.
    • Genesis 9:1 - "Be fruitful and increase".
  • Old Testament - Homosexuality carried death penalty:
    • Leviticus 18:22 - If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable. They must be put to death".
  • New Testament - Paul included homosexuality as part of his list of moral wrongdoing that could jeopardise chances of eternal life:
    • "Do not be decieved, neither...homosexual offenders...will inherit the kingdom of God"
  • Paul - Result of sin and The Fall.
    • Romans 1:27 - "Abandoned natural relations with committed indecent acts with other men".
  • Conservative Evangelical Christians - Strong Biblical argument makes it sinful and only dealt with through repentance, forgiveness, prayer and healing. 
  • Westboro' Baptist Church - Worst example of Christian intolerance to homosexuality.
11 of 12

Ethical Theories Against Homosexuality

  • Divine Command Ethics - Bible, believed to be very words of God, condemns homosexuality. Can only bring harm and will not inherit kingdom of God.
12 of 12


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Sexual Ethics resources »