Rick Perry: Leave Gay Conversion Facts to Doctors

Image: Rick Perry: Leave Gay Conversion Facts to Doctors

Monday, 16 Jun 2014 01:43 PM

By Melanie Batley

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After igniting a firestorm of criticism last week for suggesting that homosexuality is similar to alcoholism, Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry has distanced himself from the debate. He now says it is for health professionals to determine whether sexual orientation is a behavioral choice or psychological disorder.

Asked on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday whether gay people could or should become heterosexual through therapy methods, Perry replied: "I don't know. The fact is, we'll leave that to the psychologists and the doctors."

Last Wednesday, during an appearance before the Commonwealth Club of California, Perry suggested homosexuality, like alcoholism, could be a genetically predisposed disorder.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

"I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that," Perry said. "And I look at the homosexual issue in the same way."

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.

During his appearance on CNBC, the possible 2016 presidential candidate also emphasized his belief in the importance of states retaining the right to decide the legality of gay marriage, and defended Texas' constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"Texas has made the decision on that already by a vote of over 75 percent. They said that marriage is between one man and one woman. And I respect that. And I respect whatever they want to do in California or New York for that matter," he said.

He added he does not have a personal view on homosexuality.

"I don't necessarily condone that lifestyle. I don't condemn it, either. We're all children of God."

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