Newt Gingrich told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board this morning that gay people have a “significant range of choice within a genetic pattern” and can choose to be straight just like someone can “choose to be celibate.” The former House speaker, who opposes same-sex marriage, explained that there is a “big difference between saying that you’re to have an acceptance of people’s lifestyles and saying that you’re now going to normalize that as a standard for the whole country”:
Q: Do you believe that people choose to be gay?
GINGRICH: I believe it’s a combination of genetics and environment. I think both are involved. I think people have many ranges of choices. Part of the question is, do you want a society which has a bias in one direction or another?
Q: So people can then choose one way or another?
GINGRICH: I think people have a significant range of choice within a genetic pattern. I don’t believe in genetic determinism and I don’t think there is any great evidence of genetic determinism. There are propensities. Are you more likely to do this or more likely to do that? But that doesn’t mean it’s definitional.
Q: So a person can then choose to be straight?
GINGRICH: Look, people choose to be celibate. People choose many things in life. You know, there is a bias in favor of non-celibacy. It’s part of how the species recreates. And yet there is a substantial amount of people who choose celibacy as a religious vocation or for other reasons.
Gingrich also reiterated that he would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if elected President and suggested that military commanders have been pressured to accept the policy change. “I think that it would be a career ending conversation,” he said. “I don’t think that in the military you would particularly want sexual behavior to be an overt issue.”