Ashleigh Banfield Revisits Gay Is 'Voluntary' Remark

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com June 01 2012 9:35 AM ET

CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield went on the air Friday morning to clarify her controversial comments that being gay is a “lifestyle choice,” in contrast to pedophilia and incest, which she said are often not choices. 

Banfield made the initial remarks Thursday during an Early Start segment about Curtis Knapp, the Kansas pastor who has called for the state-sanctioned execution of gay people. He compared homosexuality to incest and pedophilia, to which Banfield added that the latter two aren’t choices, but being gay is. 

“It is voluntary,” she had said. 

On Friday, Banfield explained that she “probably misspoke and mangled words.” As she described it, she meant to say that the victims of insest and pedophilia have no choice in the matter, whereas gay people in relationships make the choice to be partnered. 

Mediaite reports more on what Banfield said.

“I made some comments yesterday that ended up getting a lot of traction out there, not only on Twitter but elsewhere,” she said. “And I want to be very, very clear about what my comments were about. I probably misspoke and mangled words, but I want to be very clear.

“When I said that incest and pedophilia involve people who don’t have a choice — victims who don’t have a choice — and then said a gay relationship, you do have a choice, they are not crimes. Gay people involved in relationships are not committing any crimes at all. However, those who perpetrate incest and perpetrate pedophilia are committing crimes. I don’t know that my comments were taken in that light and I certainly hope they were, but in no way did I ever want to suggest that being gay is a choice. It is not. And I probably used the word 'lifestyle choice' — not what I meant to say at all. Being gay is not a choice; being in a voluntary gay relationship is a choice. It is not a crime. So I hope that at least clears up any of the comments I made after that story of the pastor. And in no way do I agree with or stand by any of the comments that that pastor made either.”

Watch her explanation.