That was the answer to the question "Do you believe that people choose to be gay?" I'd jump all over the "bias" concept, but the interviewer followed up with: "So people can then choose one way or another?" Response:
"I think people have a significant range of choice within a genetic pattern. I don’t believe in genetic determinism and I don’t think there is any great evidence of genetic determinism. There are propensities. Are you more likely to do this or more likely to do that? But that doesn’t mean it’s definitional."So I assume what he meant by "bias" is that society can incentivize the heterosexual lifestyle so that people within the middle of the range of "propensities" will be more likely to tip toward heterosexuality. And the real question then is, as he stated it: "Do you want a society which has a bias in one direction or another?" Should we support positive/negative incentives in an effort to increase the likelihood that people will form heterosexual relationships? Well, should we? I think his answer is yes — and the main incentive is: marriage, limited to one man and one woman.
The interviewer, however, was stuck on the choice point and asked again: "So a person can then choose to be straight?" Gingrich said:
"Look, people choose to be celibate. People choose many things in life. You know, there is a bias in favor of non-celibacy. It’s part of how the species recreates. And yet there is a substantial amount of people who choose celibacy as a religious vocation or for other reasons."Again, the word "bias" appears, but there I think he's saying that nature has a bias toward engaging in sexual behavior and not refraining. But it's still possible to resist the urge to engage in sexual behavior. Okay. I think nearly everyone agrees with that, but it's completely unresponsive to the question whether people can choose whether to be gay or straight, which has to do with the urges one feels, not whether one acts on them or not.
But if you examine all of those Gingrich quotes, I think you can see that he is conceding that sexual orientation isn't a matter of choice. Once this mysterious combination of genetics and environment has done its work, the individual has whatever feelings he has. Gingrich never says the individual has a way to will himself into different feelings, only that one can refrain from acting on those feelings, and society can influence whether one does refrain. He may also be saying that society shapes the environment, which is a component (along with genetics) in the causation of the feelings an individual experiences.
It's not always easy to understand what Gingrich is saying. He's a slippery character, and you have to ask the right follow-up questions when he gets cagey like this.