Governor of Texas Rick Perry spoke in San Francisco Wednesday night and managed to offend many in his audience. Perry’s unsuccessful 2012 bid for the U.S. Presidency was hurt in part by a series of poorly-chosen comments on his part, and this trend continues.
As he addressed the Commonwealth Club of California, an interviewer asked Mr. Perry whether he still maintains his position that homosexuality is a disorder. This question was certainly not a surprise to anyone in the Rick Perry camp. The “reparative therapy” question has come up again this month as the Texas GOP adopted a platform supporting access to the questionable practice.
Perry answered: “Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. 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.”
Although many in the large crowd at Nob Hill’s InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel were Perry supporters, the comment provoked gasps of disbelief. The comment is similar to the views expressed in his 2008 book, On My Honor, and at other times in the media.
“Reparative therapy” for gays and lesbians has been broadly discredited. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the World Health Organization have all stated on record that there is no validity to the “treatment” practice which is intended to change the sexual orientation of patients.
When asked by audience members if the treatment worked, Perry answered that he did not know whether or not it was effective.
Rick Perry is an open defender of the Texas constitutional amendment that bars same-sex marriage and advocates for the rights of all states to set their own gay marriage policies. This is in line with his broader states’ rights agenda on issues from abortion to global warming which he has said he does not believe in.
Representatives from Mr. Perry’s office have not commented to media outlets about this issue.