By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com June 20 2014 3:00 PM ET
Rick Perry has been on an apology tour of sorts since his remarks in San Francisco last week comparing alcoholism to homosexuality, but he's yet to actually explain the problematic comparison.
On Monday, the governor said he would defer to scientists on the matter of whether so-called reparative therapy — also known as "ex-gay" therapy and just endorsed in the official platform for the governor's Texas Republican Party — was actually effective in turning gay people straight.
But since every major medical and psychological association in the country has disavowed the so-called therapy as not only ineffective but harmful to those subjected to such treatment, CNN's Stephanie Cutter pressed the governor on whether he has an opinion on the discredited treatment just endorsed by the party he represents on on Wednesday's episode of Crossfire.
"Now, [reparative therapy] has been rejected by the medical community for almost four decades," explained Cutter. "You're the governor of Texas. You're the leader of the Republican Party in Texas. Isn't that exactly what you were saying?"
"I said in that remark that I'd leave that to the psychiatrists and the doctors," Perry responded, smirking.
"Who have rejected it," Cutter repeated. "They've rejected it."
Perry then abruptly shifted the focus of the discussion: "The more important issue, is one that we need to be focused on in this country, and that's how to get this country back working."
"So you have no opinion on any of this, then?" Cutter asked. "You don't have an opinion on either side?"
"I think my statements stand on their own," Perry replied, smiling.
Perry was similarly obtuse when he addressed the controversy at a luncheon for The Christian Science Monitor Thursday, though he did admit that he had "stepped right in it" with his bungled response, captured on video by The Hill.
Saying he got "distracted" in San Francisco, Perry said he should have just stayed on message, talking about job creation rather than divisive "social issues."
"Instead of saying 'you know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country to everybody,' and get back to talking about, whether you're gay or straight, you need to be having a job, and those are the focuses that I want to be involved with," Perry said. "I readily admit, I stepped right in it. ... If you're really going to be the party that's going to talk to everybody and say, 'Listen, you may not agree with all of my positions, but getting you and your family and your loved ones the opportunity to live a better life because we've created a climate in this country where you're going to have a job and a good job and a good-paying job, if we'll do that, then I think we'll be successful."
Watch Perry's remarks at the luncheon in Washington, D.C., below.