Perry’s Gay Conversion / Alcoholism Analogy Continues to Draw Fire

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Jun 19, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was once again blasted this week for comments he made last week comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. He's also been criticized for the Texas GOP's platform, which now supports conversion therapy.

When the Republican governor stopped by CNN's "Crossfire" Wednesday night co-host Stephanie Cutter asked him over and over again to explain himself regarding his controversial comments.

"Are you saying homosexuality is a disease?" she asks.

"I think my position has been fairly clear on that for a substantial period of time..." Perry said before Cutter, who asked him to explain his position, cut him off.

"No, I'm going to tell you where I think we need to be as a country and what we need to be focused on," Perry said. "And that is not these social issues. I think social issues, frankly, should be decided state-by-state rather than being in something in Washington D.C. - trying to make a one size fits all."

Cutter said "this is not a Washington D.C. issue." But Perry disagreed.

"Why were you referring to alcoholism, could you explain that?" she asked.

"I got asked a question and I responded in the way that I have before," the governor said before adding, "The issue is one that needs to be decided state-by-state."

Cutter, not missing a beat, told Perry to talk about his state, Texas.

"Your Republican Party in Texas just adopted conversion therapy as part of their political platform," she said before explaining conversion therapy, which is a controversial practice that some believe can "turn" gay people straight even though it's been rejected by a number of medical organizations.

"You're the governor of Texas, you're the leader of the Republican Party in Texas isn't that exactly what you're saying?" Cutter said.

"I said in that remark that I'd leave it to the psychiatrist and doctor," Perry said before being interrupted by Cutter who explained health officials have rejected conversion therapy.

"The more important issue is how to get this country back working," Perry said.

"So you have no opinion on any of this?" Cutter asked.

Perry said his "statements stand on their own" but Cutter said she doesn't understand them.

"I can't help you understand it," he added.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee was also on the program and said he's "very proud" that Rhode Island has marriage equality.

"That's Rhode Island's choice! And I agree with that," Perry said. "If we as a country get back allowing to the states to decide these...we got lots of big issues in this country."

Perry was called out earlier this week for the same issues when he appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box," hosted by Joe Kernan.

"In terms of comparing it to alcoholism, that's what got all the play, and I have a really high bar for what I would take offense to, but that would exceed the bar for me on being an offensive comment," Kernan said. "I don't think gay marriage leads to cirrhosis of the liver or domestic violence or DWIs. I don't see how that's similar."

Perry said he "understands" people have "different opinions about that" before launching off on how he believes states should have the right to make decisions on gay marriage, rather than Washington.

H/T Towleroad

Watch the "Crossfire" clip below:


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