This event sets a very dangerous precedent.
A scholar's simple articulation of the Shia Islamic view on homosexuality, even in a very academic, withdrawn manner, led to a "moral" outrage leading to the vilification of his character and what can only be described as modern exile. The mere expression of what our faith says on an issue that has only in recent years become consecrated in this fickle system of Western law is tantamount to a declaration of hatred not only for a group but for the systems in power within these countries, thus the one who voiced said expression is deserving of excommunication and pariah status.
Homosexuality in the Western system of thought from the 1800s onwards became a behavior to be studied instead of an act to be curtailed. The medical establishment then pathologized homosexuality, deeming it a mental illness without scientific basis. While proponents of this deviant practice today would oppose this characterization, it did pave the way for the normalization of homosexuality as now the one who engaged in this act was not regarded as one who decided to act upon an urge but rather as one who can not be culpable for his or her action like the insane.
Later research showed that this psychiatric designation was predicated on nothing, so advocacy groups called for groups like the American Psychiatric Association to change their viewpoint as social mores began to change, which they successfully did in 1973.
Now we see the scientific community attempting to "geneticize" homosexuality--a move that, in the Western mindset, allows homosexuality to remain as a behavior but without stigmatizing it as an illness--, which has largely been to no avail save a fairly recent study (http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668167) that suffers from some methodological issues and the fact that a predictive model showing with relative accuracy some association between epigentic modification of the portions of the genome studied and sexual orientation cannot be considered definitive "proof" for a causative relationship, especially when there is no clear testable biological mechanism to explain such a relationship.
Even if there were some biological aspect to homosexuality present prior to parturition or triggered by environmental changes in the womb or shortly after birth, from an Islamic mindset this does not warrant any reconsideration of homosexuality as it just serves as a test for some believers to withhold their sexual urges to commit illicit relations, just as someone who may be "genetically" promiscuous (read an attempt to "geneticize" infidelity here: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0014162) must avoid their urges to commit zina. There are also similar attempts in evolutionary psychology to present hypotheses for homosexuality as a product of natural selection.
The reasoning for all of this is that once you make an action part of a state of being rather than a state of doing, then it cannot be denigrated and must be respected. If homosexuality is considered an essential nature of a human, then, like race or gender for example, to curtail the action in society is problematic and hateful. This conceptualization of homosexuality is entirely foreign and strange to Islam where the act is only taken into regard and is treated as a moral and legal matter. This nuance is lost, however, on most people who fervently anathematize that which they are told to anathematize.
I wonder what thing next will become virtually "illegal" to speak of in our faith within the West.