Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been in California all week for a series of meetings, one of which was a stop at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.
During an extended Q&A session, Perry was asked whether he thought homosexuality was a disorder. This was his response, filmed by San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX-TV:
“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 homosexuality issue the same way,” Perry said.
KPIX-TV reported people in the audience gasped at the remark. But back in Texas, Jonathan Saenz, president of the Texas Values Coalition, said he agrees with the governor's take.
“Engaging in the consumption of alcohol is a lifestyle choice and behavior for many people and homosexuality behavior is a lifestyle choice for many people and there’s no question it’s a dangerous behavior statistically,” Saenz said.
Chuck Smith, executive director of gay-rights group Equality Texas, said he disagrees with Perry’s assessment.
“Everyone has a sexual orientation and it’s not a choice," Smith said. "Alcoholism is a disease, being gay is not."
Smith said the state of Texas is moving forward in regard to equal rights for LGBT individuals and that Perry’s statement is out of touch with the rest of Texas voters.