Well, if the president of the United States said it, it has to be true, right? Not exactly, but it’s sure nice to know that even back in 1971, Richard Nixon agreed that homosexuality was an orientation people were born with. Still, in 2014, although countless individuals may share Nixon’s belief, the question of whether sexual preference is a choice or biologically determined remains unanswered.

In The Words Of Former President Nixon, “Gays Are Born That Way”

White House tapes containing Nixon’s take on homosexuality have recently emerged, and they depict the former president's beliefs as being quite forward for the time period, the New York Post reported. “They’re born that way. You know that. That’s all. I think they are. Anyway, my point is, though, when I say they’re born that way, the tendency is there,” Nixon is heard clearly saying in the conversation. However, before you get too excited at Nixon’s gay revelation, soon afterward he blames homosexuality for the fall of the Greek and Roman empires. Former President Nixon is heard making statements such as, “The Greeks. And they had plenty of it,” following comments by the former secretary of the state, Henry Kissinger, who said that “The Romans were notorious…homosexuals.”

A Genetic Component?

Twin studies have shown that sexual preference has a genetic component, The Huffington Post reported. Also, a gay man is more likely than a straight man to have a gay biological brother, just as lesbians are more likely than straight women to have gay sisters. “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice,” Dr. Michael Bailey, a researcher in search of the controversial “gay gene,” told the Daily Mail. “Our findings suggest there may be genes at play — we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight.” The Huffington Post also reported that the brains of gay men are visibly different from the brains of straight men. Unfortunately, human brains do not stop developing until an individual is in their mid-20s, so this cannot be taken as concrete evidence of nature vs. nurture.

Mixed With A Little Bit Of Environmental Factors

With just about every other aspect of human personality, however, a part of sexual preference may also be attributed to the environment. For example, in families where alcoholism is prevalent, it’s not just genes that predispose children of alcoholics to drink excessively, but also their upbringing around parents who handle stress with alcohol. Upon entering adulthood, it is more likely that they would follow this practice than say, a child who grew up in a dry household. One could say the same with homosexual siblings. Rather than genes being a part of the picture it may be growing up with other homosexuals nearby.

At the end of the day, science can’t really say for sure whether homosexuality is genetic or acquired. When it comes to some subjects, such as those we love, and why we love them, maybe science should just stay out of it altogether.