The denial of equal rights for gays is inexcusable. There is absolutely no justification for it. Homophobia seems to be entirely based on religion or sexual insecurity or both.
The ugly face of homophobia is visible in the vicious and disgusting campaign by the assistant attorney general of the state of Michigan against the president of the University of Michigan student council, as seen in this CNN interview (via Pharyngula.)
One can see within seconds that this guy is a really nasty piece of work. What drives people like this to obsess about other people’s sexuality? This guy is positively creepy.
Certain segments of the population seem to be much more homophobic than others. The Christian Science Monitor has an article that says that the allegations that Eddie Long, the anti-gay head of a megachurch in Atlanta, used his influence to entice four young men to perform sex acts on him, has brought the silent issue of rampant homophobia in the black community to the surface.
The number of prominent, religious, obsessively anti-gay people who turn out to be themselves closeted gays is quite impressive.