Topanga, I'm not even from the south, but having grown up in a tiny, super conservative, right wing town, I can say that for this type of community, yes, fornicating is considered not nearly as big a sin as being gay. I was in a church that the week after our state passed an anti-discrimination law, and the pastor spent 2 hours preaching about how this was going to destroy the very fabric of our town and the nation. Spoiler alert: it didn't (and he's no longer the pastor there. Coincidence?).
I thought Faith's story was so well done. I liked that they had it be a Christian because there are still so many Christian kids terrified to come out because of everything Faith said, including God striking them dead. There have just been so many suicides (including in my town) of kids who had their communities disown them, that the fact they had it be the conservative Christian girl who came out carries so much more meaning. And I loved Rachel's teary reaction to it and her fight to protect Faith and Amy's desire to come out on their own terms. I was like "see--you ARE a good human being! Quit this show and go work on real tv!" Never thought I would have such intense emotions about a "trashy" tv show!