TUSCALOOSA | As the battle for same-sex marriage rights continues
in the U.S. Supreme Court, the court of U.S. public opinion is
debating another issue involving homosexuality: Is homosexuality a
According to a recent survey by LifeWay Research, most Americans
now believe that it isn't.
In September 2011, 44 percent of Americans said it was a sin, 43
percent said it wasn't and 13 percent said they didn't know,
according to the survey.
But when the survey was conducted again in November 2012, barely
more than a year later, public opinion on the matter shifted.
The percentage of Americans who believed that homosexuality was a
sin dropped from 44 percent to 37 percent, while the percentage of
people who said it's not a sin increased to 45 percent. The
percentage of people who said they don't know if it's a sin
increased to 17 percent.
Mirroring public opinion across the nation, Tuscaloosa residents
are split on the subject.
"It's a sin," said Freddie Robinson, 53, a Tuscaloosa resident
and a Baptist. "It's in the Bible. It's written in stone. America is
trying to become Sodom and Gomorrah."
Molly Lusian, 40, a Tuscaloosa resident and an Episcopalian, said
homosexuality is not a sin because it's genetic.
"At this point science has completely and totally proven that
homosexuality isn't a choice that someone makes," Lusian said. "It's
a genetic predisposition. People are either genetically predisposed
to it or not. If you don't have a choice in the behavior, it can't
be a sin, no more than people having blue eyes is a sin.
"I think one of the most offensive parts of the argument is that
people say Christians believe X. There's 30-plus Christian
denominations. The Episcopal Church since 1976 has declared that
homosexuals were children of God."
Tamar Wilson, a 28-year-old Tuscaloosa resident and a Full Gospel
Baptist, said homosexuality is still a sin because it's always been
a sin. She said people can't choose what is and isn't sin; that's
for God to decide, and he's already made his decision, which is
written in the Bible.
"Any sin that was stated as a sin in the Bible is still a sin
today," Wilson said. "That list has not changed. People probably
feel that it's no longer a sin because it's tolerated more.
"I don't have a problem with that, because Scripture says (in
Jeremiah 31:3) 'with love and kindness have I drawn thee.' So a lot
of people within the church feel that if I push homosexuals away,
they'll turn from the church, but if I accept them for who they are,
they'll possibly be set free."
David DuPuy, a 34-year-old atheist and Tuscaloosa resident, said
he doesn't believe in the concept of sin. But if sin were real,
based on religion, homosexuality would be a sin, he said.
"Being that I am an atheist and therefore not religious, whether
or not it's a sin doesn't affect me, but from my religious
background -- I grew up Methodist -- it is a sin," DuPuy said. "It's
kind of a non-issue, but from my religious studies, I'd say it is a
Noah Cannon, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama
majoring in telecommunications, is president of Spectrum, the
university's LGBTQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
Questioning/Queer and Allied/Asexual) student organization. He said
he grew up Presbyterian but no longer claims a religion.
He identifies his sexual orientation only as, in his words,
"queer," a former derogatory word against homosexuals that many
younger people in the LGBTQA+ community have started calling
themselves in recent years in an attempt to turn the word from a
negative into a positive, and as a catch-all phrase describing
LGBTQA+ people as a group.
Cannon didn't answer the question because he said he doesn't
believe in sin.
"I am a proponent of LGBT rights, and I think those numbers are
indicative of a large social movement in this country of people
accepting LGBT," he said. "Within the past year, there's been a lot
of prominent public figures, most notably President (Barack) Obama
and Vice President (Joe) Biden, who've accepted same-sex