There's a bit of a controversy going on right now about the role of gay characters and gay relationships in YA fiction.
Personally, I'm comfortable with gay characters and gay relationships portrayed the same way straight YA characters and relationships are. But I also can see why agents and publishers might think it could hurt sales in the heartland. And I like the idea that it's out there, available, for people who DO want to read stories with gay characters. People are free to write what they want without fear of being censored or persecuted. And people are free to NOT read it, as well.
Many years ago, I did a fundraiser for Lambda Legal (a nonprofit that provides legal protections to members of the GLBT community). I got the most vitriolic, nasty, and poorly spelled hate mail I have ever seen.
So I think it comes down to this: the people who would be most offended these days may well be the least likely to be reading books in the first place.
What do you think?