In a newspaper
interview Sunday, the Republican candidate for Ohio's
governorship, J. Kenneth Blackwell, compared gay people to
arsonists and kleptomaniacs who can be "changed." The
religious conservative and current secretary of state
made the controversial remarks in a
question-and-answer session with The Columbus
Dispatch, Ohio's largest paper.
"I think homosexuality is a lifestyle, it's a
choice, and that lifestyle can be changed," Blackwell
said in response to the question "Is homosexuality a
sin, and can gays be cured?" according to published
transcripts. "I think it is a transgression against God's
law, God's will."
He continued: "The reality is, again...that I
think we make choices all the time. And I think you
make good choices and bad choices in terms of
lifestyle. Our expectation is that one's genetic makeup
might make one more inclined to be an arsonist or
might make one more inclined to be a kleptomaniac. Do
I think that they can be changed? Yes."
Gay rights supporters in the state were
outraged, with Equality Ohio denouncing Blackwell's
statement. "I don't need to tell you that Ken
Blackwell is a serious obstacle to equality for LGBT people
in Ohio," said Bo Shuff, director of education and
public policy for Equality Ohio, in a statement.
"Ohioans need officials who lead with
vision—not division." (The Advocate)