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Our source for this essay in Donald Wold's Out of Order: Homosexuality and the Bible in the Ancient Near East. Our purpose is to look at the question of what Genesis says with respect to homosexuality, and with specific focus on one passage that is often taken to refer to homosexuality, but is argued by critics to not do so (Sodom and Gommorah), and then look at a passage that is seldom understood to refer to homosexuality, but that Wold argues does so, in a condemning way.
Let's start with the one that everyone discusses:
Genesis 19:4-11 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
Common critics' points, with our answers (including from Wold):
- "Know" doesn't mean sexuality, it just means, "get to know".
Critics admit that the word used (the very common yada) does at times refer euphemistically to sexual activity, but that this is seldom the case. However, Wold points out that the presence of a mixed group, as opposed to merely elders, speaks against this being any sort of "welcoming committee" (for elders had that role in an ancient village or city [82ff -- there is no evidence, Wold notes, for the claim that Lot violated hospitality by not getting permission to have a guest; no such custom is known]).
Critics also fail to consider the full semantic field: In other languages of the period, there are equivalent verbs to yada (in Egyptian, Ugaritic, Akkadian) which are clearly used with a sexual connotation. In addition, critics admit that yada means sexual intercourse in Judges 19:25, a story which scholars unhesitatingly identify as having used Gen. 19 as a literary model. It is also clear that yada is used sexually of Lot's daughters in 19:8.
Finally, the LXX translators used a Greek verb which clearly indicated that they understood yada in 19:5 in a sexual sense (hence, it is false to claim that no Jewish scholars read the text this way prior to Christianity).
- They were just being inhospitable.
Of course, there is no doubt under our view that the Sodomites were also inhospitable. But the refusal to take Lot's daughters shows that the matter was likely one of social dominance: the men wished to show that they were social superiors to Lot's visitors, and they wished to accomplish this by means of the socially-dominating act of homosexuality. Moreover, the "persistence of the Sodomites does not reflect the demeanor of would-be hospitable folk." If it were, Lot would have hardly protested as he did.
Now let's move to a "surprise" passage about homosexuality:
Genesis 9:20-27 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their fatherís nakedness.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Wold raises the following points about this passage:
- To "see the nakedness" of someone is a metaphor for forbidden sexuality such as fornication or harlotry (Ex. 20;26; Deut. 23:1; Ezek. 16:36-7, 22:10, 23:10, 29: Is. 47:2; Hos. 2:12, etc.)
- The grammar specifically indicates that it was a third party who "uncovered" Noah: "This is the only place in the Hebrew Bible where this form (hith pael third-person masculine singular) of the verb gala appears. Because of the way verses 21-22 are normally punctuated, the reader is made to pause after verse 21 and begin a new thought with verse 22.
But the original Hebrew text did not have punctuation marks. If the thought at the end of verse 21 is continued at the beginning of verse 22, with the sequential waw ("and") introducing verse 22a in apposition to verse 21b, then Ham may be associated with the verb gala. It is a passive verb and Noah is the subject. He was acted upon. The implied actor in this view is Ham, and we could understand that Noah was uncovered by Ham." 
- Why the curse on Canaan? This is an illustration for the sake of Israelites in Moses' time: Ancient peoples, as we have noted, believed that one's anestry explained one's current behavior. For Israel the act of Ham explained why the Canaanites were dso depraved. For Noah, Ham's behavior would be transmitted to his descendants.
Of course, critics may respond that neither of these passages would offer any clear condemnation of a "loving, stable" homosexual relationship, because they are directed towards rape (or incest). But that is far from clear in the first passage, and in the second, one is hard pressed to find such a distinction without the assumption of finding what is desired to begin with, and apart from issues of homosexuality as a violation of the cosmic order in the ancient world.