In San Francisco, Texas Gov. Rick Perry Compares Homosexuality to Alcoholism
Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited San Francisco on Wednesday and stunned an audience in the famously tolerant city by comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.
Perry addressed a gathering of the public affairs forum Commonwealth Club of California, discussing a wide range of issues, including energy independence, states’ rights, the environment and how, as the Republican governor of a state with lower taxes and less regulation than California, he’s lured many businesses from the Golden State to Texas.
During the audience question period, Perry was asked if he believes “homosexuals can be cured by prayer or counseling.”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m not a doctor.”
Perry was then asked if he believes homosexuality is “a disorder.”
“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” replied Perry, repeating another widely discredited notion– that people can choose their sexual orientation.
Then, seemingly contradicting his assertion, Perry added that, “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the audience, which included many Perry supporters, was stunned by the 2012 presidential candidate’s remarks. There was a “murmur of disbelief” that he, like many conservatives, compared homosexuality to a disease.
Perry’s remarks come just days after the Republican Party of Texas approved an official platform which endorses ‘reparative therapy’ for gays. Widely discredited and banned in California and New Jersey as a form of child abuse, ‘reparative therapy,’ also known as ‘gay cure therapy,’ treats homosexuality as a mental disorder and seeks to ‘convert’ LGBT people to heterosexuals through prayer and counseling.
Many in San Francisco’s LGBT community were alarmed by Perry’s remarks.
“Perry’s comments are offensive and betray a frightening willingness to dehumanize LGBT people,” National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) legal director Shannon Minter told Moral Low Ground.
“The promotion of so-called conversion therapy by his party in Texas is equally offensive,” added Minter. “[It] sends a terrible message to LGBT youth and their families, who need accurate information about the importance of family acceptance and support and the dangers of trying to change a young person’s sexual orientation, which puts youth at high risk of depression and suicide attempts.”
Perry’s anti-gay views have been known for years. In 2011, he hosted a prayer summit funded by the Bryan Fischer-led American Family Association (AFA), a fundamentalist Christian organization designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its aggressive dissemination of false anti-gay and anti-Muslim propaganda.
The Texas governor also lamented that “gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in schools” in one of his 2012 presidential campaign ads.
Many observers expect Perry to run for president again in 2016.