This past weekend, the Texas Republican Party approved a new platform plank that endorsed ex-gay therapy for those “who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle.” Asked about the platform Wednesday night, Gov. Rick Perry (R) seemed to defend it by suggesting that homosexuality is comparable to alcoholism.
“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry suggested. “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, which according to the San Francisco Chronicle “drew a murmur of disbelief,” reflects the platform’s condemnation of homosexuality, that it “must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.”
Perry has a long history of shunning homosexuality. When the Supreme Court overturned Texas’ sodomy law, which criminalized gay sex, he rebuked the 6–3 decision as the product of “nine oligarchs in robes.” He saw “absolutely no reason” for the Boy Scouts of America to admit gay Scouts, suggesting the organization should oppose a “flavor of the month” like homosexuality just like Sam Houston opposed slavery and secession. He has also joined other conservatives in defending the “religious liberty” of those who might discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, proclaiming in a 2012 presidential campaign ad that he would “end Obama’s war on religion.”
The American Psychiatric Association diagnoses alcohol dependence in the context of tolerance, withdrawal, abundance, inability to control use, and a negative impact on other life activities. The APA has not diagnosed homosexuality as a disorder since 1973.
Watch Rick Perry make the comments: