When we look honestly at the teachings of God's Word, inlcuding those of Jesus, it is evident that Christians and the church cannot legitimize same-sex relations. The paradigm from creation is clear that God created humans in a two-fold way, male and female, and that sexual union is to be a one-flesh relationship between to humans who are not alike in gender. . . .
The church should be unambiguous in articulating God's design for sexual intimacy: a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. The church actually shows great love and pastoral care though its gracious articulation of God's designs. We fail the world and struggling individuals when we continually appeal to more dialogue, ambiguity, and merely compassion. . . .
But at the same time we are called to walk and cry with, empathize, forgive, and support those who struggle with homoerotic impulses. We can never apply biblical ethics with cold callousness and harness. We must recall that after discussion homosexuality in Romans 1, Paul gives a list of other sins that we too easily ignore in the church: greed, envy, strife, slander, arrogance, pride, and lack of love and mercy. . . . What can the church offer pastorally to those struggling with this issue?
First, we can offer hope for healing through divine resources and professional counseling. Second, we can offer ongoing empathetic support and accountability for those who find it difficult to change their inward inclinations, but are called to maintain celibacy. Third, we can offer forgiveness when there is failure amidst the struggle, albeit without watering down the ethical norm. And finally the church must rid itself of homophobia, the hatred of gay persons.- Dennis Hollinger, The Meaning of Sex (my emphasis)
(HT: Walt Mueller)