Governor Perry compares homosexuality to alcoholism

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was invited to Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco to speak about biofuel, solar and wind energy and his experiences as a Republic candidate on the 2012 presidential campaign trail.

So it was a surprise to many in the liberal-leaning city when Perry ended up comparing homosexuality to alcoholism, according to the San Francisco Chronicle,when speaking about how the United States would better serve its diverse population by letting states handle its many economic and social policies.

Taking questions from the crowd on Wednesday, Perry was asked about the Texas Republican Party's adoption this month of supporting access to "reparative therapy" for gays and lesbians - a process intended to change sexual orientation, which is proven not to work.

Perry's answer,according to the San Francisco Business Journal: "I don't know. I'm not a psychologist. I'm not a doctor."

Commonwealth Club interviewer Greg Dalton then asked him whether 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," Perry said, according to the Chronicle. "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."

Though the crowd at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill was full of Perry supporters, the comment still drew a "murmur of disbelief," the Chronicle reported. The Business Journalsaid members of the audience actually hissed.

Perry's office was not immediately available Thursday morning for comment. His Twitter feed on Thursday morning did not address his controversial remarks either.

The story quickly began making the rounds on social media, mostly drawing criticism.

"Shannon M.," tweeted"What the hells is wrong with TX Pols?"

Robbie Sherwood, a former political reporter for the Arizona Republic and the executive director of ProgressiveNow in Arizona tweeted: "Dumbassery is a choice, Rick, homosexuality is not." In a phone interview, Sherwood added: "Please keep going, tell us more what you think, because that will just accelerate Texas turning blue."

After that, Perry took on several other issues. 

Perry said he would not support efforts to fight climate change that would "strangle" the economy, including putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions as California has done with its "cap and trade" system. He complained that people concerned about global warming had adopted an attitude of "You either believe this all the way, or you're a Neanderthal."

Perry also argued  in favor of fracking to tap oil and gas reserves, saying it had created a tremendous economic boom in his home state, the Chronic reported. He said California could enjoy the same prosperity by developing its own shale formation.

Finally, he attributed this week's stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia's Republican primary to not spending enough time with constituents.

"Having been involved in elected office for 30 years now," Perry said, "it's pretty simple: Spend plenty of time in your home district."


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