By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com June 12 2014 12:33 PM ET
Speaking before his a gathering at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club Wednesday, Texas governor Rick Perry explained that he does think there's an element of "genetic coding" to homosexuality — just like there is to alcoholism.
The Republican governor was responding to a question about his state party's official platform, adopted Saturday, endorsing the scientifically discredited practice of so-called reparative therapy, which aims to make gay people straight.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “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 the same way.”
Perry's response reportedly earned several gasps throughout the crowd.
It's not the first time Perry has made problematic comments around homosexuality.
During the governor's failed bid for the White House in December 2011, he released a campaign ad that took aim at the recently finalized repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell," policy barring open service by gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers.
"There's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school," Perry said in the controversial spot. He concluded the ad, which ran throughout Iowa, by promising that through his faith, he could "make [America] strong again."
That same year, Perry claimed that U.S. opposition to antigay laws abroad amounted to "promoting special rights for gays."
Last year, Perry likened his opposition to the Boy Scouts of America allowing openly gay youth to participate in its program to a former Texas governor's opposition slavery.
"That's the kind of principled leadership, that's the type of courage that I hope people across this country on this issue of scouts [can take] and keeping Boy Scouts the organization it is today," Perry said in a bizarrely nonsensical statement last May.
Watch Perry's latest comments below.