Jun 12 4:30 PM

Rick Perry: homosexuality like being ‘an alcoholic’

Gov. Rick Perry delivers some of his well-chosen words in the house chambers at the state capitol, in Austin, Texas in 2013.
Eric Gay/AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry may want to consider his audience the next time he decides to share his views on homosexuality with the denizens of America’s mecca for all things LGBT.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Perry, in a Wednesday night speech before San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, equated homosexuality with alcoholism when asked by interviewer Greg Dalton whether he believed 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," Perry said. "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."

The comment drew “a murmur of disbelief,” the Chronicle said, despite the fact that the crowd gathered at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on San Francisco’s Nob Hill included “many Perry supporters.”

The Texas GOP has already ruffled feathers with its newly announced endorsement of “reparative therapy,” a pseudoscientific program that claims to change sexual orientation from gay to straight. Also known as conversion therapy, the program has been banned for minors in California and New Jersey, and has been panned as harmful by the likes of the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

This is far from the first time Perry has suffered from an acute case of foot-in-mouth syndrome.

In June 2013, he told a crowd at the National Right to Life conference that Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis had “failed to learn from her mistakes” as a teenage single mother. Davis, who had two children at a young age and eventually graduated from Harvard Law School, rose to fame following her 13-hour filibuster against a bill restricting abortion access in the state.

"It's just unfortunate she hasn't learned to live by her own example," Perry said of Davis, remarks that were characterized as everything from “condescending” to “vile.”

During his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011, he made a number of choice verbal gaffes, including that the Revolutionary War was in the 16th century  (a mere 200 years off), incorrectly stating the number of Supreme Court Justices and their names (nine judges; Sonia Sotomayor, not “Montemayor”) and that a group of New Hampshire college students ought to vote for him when they turn 21 (the voting age is 18).

Speaking of New Hampshire, Perry also gave a stump speech in October 2011 there during which viewers and pundits alike agreed that he was probably hammered.

He’s not so great on foreign affairs, either — he called the Mexican city of Juarez  “the most dangerous city in America” and referred to deceased North Korean leader Kim Yong Il as “Kim Yong the Second” in an email message.

And finally, possibly the most famous, Texas-sized flub made by Mr. Perry was the one during a CNBC debate in November 2011. He boldly declared that he would eliminate three government agencies when elected president, including the Department of Commerce and the Department of Education — and failed to recall the third. “Let’s see … the third one, I can’t,” he stumbled when asked if he could, in fact, name the third. “Oops,” he added.

Oops, indeed.


Gay Rights

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