Metro Weekly

Rick Perry compares homosexuality to alcoholism

Photo: Rick Perry. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.

Photo: Rick Perry. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.

Days after the Texas Republican Party endorsed “ex-gay” therapy in their official platform, Gov. Rick Perry stated that he believes homosexuality is comparable to alcoholism.

While addressing the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco Wednesday, Perry was asked whether he believes “homosexuals can be cured by prayer or counseling.”

“I don’t know. I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m not a doctor,” the Texas Republican said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Pressed on whether gay people are suffering from a disorder, Perry went further, citing his 2008 book, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For, and his defense of the Boy Scouts’ then-ban on gay youth.

“I talked about that people make choices in life and whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry continued. “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 remarks from Perry, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and has not ruled out another run for the White House in 2016, appear to be his first endorsement of the Texas GOP’s new party platform supporting “reparative therapy” for gay people.

Last Saturday, about 7,000 delegates at the Texas GOP Convention ratified an official party platform that includes a new plank recognizing the “legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle.” The adoption of language supporting therapy that has been deemed junk science by every major medical and mental health organization comes after two states with Democratic and Republican governors — Jerry Brown (D) in California and Chris Christie (R) in New Jersey — have banned such practices on minors by licensed therapists, and flies in the face of efforts by the national Republican Party to become more inclusive after a series of electoral defeats.

“Although he may not have the ‘genetic coding’ to think before he speaks, Rick Perry, M.D. should have a real conversation with actual doctors before voicing his expertise on these issues,” said Fred Sainz, vice president for communications at the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. “Every major mental health and medical organization in the country has condemned practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.”

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.

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