CNN's Ashleigh Banfield Says She Didn't Mean Being Gay Is 'Voluntary'
BY Lucas Grindley
May 31 2012 8:50 PM ET UPDATED: June 01 2012 12:16 PM ET
CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield said during a broadcast Thursday morning that being gay is "voluntary," and then headed to Twitter to say she was misunderstood.
During a segment on CNN's newly revamped morning show, Early Start, Banfield reacted to an antigay pastor's comparison of homosexuality with incest and pedophilia by saying the latter two aren't choices — but being gay is.
"Pedophilia is not by choice, last I checked," she said, before elaborating. "Again, we gotta outline here, when he says 'they punish incest and pedophilia.' Please. Those things are often not by choice and are crimes. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice by people. It is voluntary."
(RELATED: Ashleigh Banfield Goes Back on Early Start to Clarify Comments)
Video of her reaction, the statement, and then the lack of reaction from anyone else on-air, was posted by Mediaite. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation quickly reached out to CNN and was told Banfield would address her comments on Friday's Early Start. But she made a couple posts to Twitter to clarify what she meant.
"Need 2 clarify," tweeted Banfield. "Incest and pedophelia are CRIMES & victims have no choice. Being gay is not. Relatnshps r by choice. Way of life not crime." She followed that up with, "Being gay is not a choice. Being in consensual relationship is. I support LGBT people."
Banfield reiterated that she doesn't support the pastor in question, Curtis Knapp, who seemed to call for a gay holocaust during a recent sermon in his Kansas church.
"'Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them?'" the pastor asked rhetorically. "No, I'm saying the government should. They won't, but they should."
Watch video of the moment that got Banfield in hot water: