Texas Gov. Rick Perry has sparked outrage from gay rights groups and Democrats with his "toxic" remarks comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.
"Gov. Rick Perry should be ashamed of himself," said Texas Democratic Party executive director Will Hailer, according to the Dallas Morning News
Perry, who is a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, made the comparison on Wednesday
at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco after being asked whether he believes homosexuality was a disorder.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," said Perry, who's not seeking re-election, in remarks broadcast on the local CBS affiliate.
"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 in the same way."
But Hailer said, "The governor should be working to bring Texans together instead of grandstanding across the country and spewing toxic, ill-informed rhetoric."
The controversial comments, which have spread like wildfire on the Internet, were also slammed by the Human Rights Campaign, a group supporting gay rights, according to the Houston Chronicle
"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.
"Every major mental health and medical organization in the country has condemned practices aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation."
The American Psychological Association has dismissed the idea that sexual orientation is a mental disorder and said mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.
The therapy has been outlawed in California and New Jersey, the Morning News said.
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