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Rick Perry Saddles Up for Second Presidential Run

Rick Perry Saddles Up for Second Presidential Run

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Hang on to your hats, folks — it's going to be a bumpy ride to 2016.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry today joined an already crowded field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president, evidently hoping to put the numerous gaffes that tanked his 2012 candidacy behind him.

Perry announced his candidacy on his website Thursday morning, and is planning to make a formal speech later in the day at a "small municipal airport [in] Addison, a suburb of downtown Dallas," reports The New York Times.

"We need a president who bridges the divide, rather than widen [it]," said Perry in a video announcing his campaign.

But that's a tall order for the former Governor of Texas, who made his antigay stances a crux of his 2012 candidacy, running a campaign ad that asked why gay people could serve openly in the military, but Christian "kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." The ad was so tone-deaf that it was mercilessly mocked by everyone from Stephen Colbert, to gay veterans, to snarky YouTubers.

In between presidential bids, Perry still found his way into the national headlines when he told a San Francisco audience last year that he believed that people were indeed born gay -- in the same way alcoholics are born with a predisposition to their disease. Perry ultimately admitted that he "stepped in it" with the obtuse comments, and attempted to walk them back, saying he'd "defer to scientists" as to whether discredited efforts to change someone's sexual orientation through what is sometimes called "ex-gay therapy" were effective.

Perry has also been an outspoken supporter of the Boy Scouts of America's ongoing ban on openly gay scout leaders, saying his opposition to allowing openly gay adults and Eagle Scouts to participate was tantamount to those who vocally opposed slavery.

Perry, like all but one of his fellow Republican presidential hopefuls, opposes marriage equality, pointing to his Christian faith as the reason he believes marriage should be the union of one man and one woman. The Human Rights Campaign notes that Perry supports efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, an idea most recently introduced in Congress by his fellow Texan and rival Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz.

When a federal judge struck down Texas's voter-approved ban on marriage equality last year, Perry directed his then-attorney general, Greg Abbott, to defend the ban in court. Abbott is now the governor of Texas, and has advanced numerous debunked, antigay arguments in his state's defense of so-called traditional marriage.

Responding to what he called the "gotcha question" of the liberal media during this election cycle, Perry told aconservative radio host in April that he "probably would" attend a same-sex wedding if he was invited.

During the nationwide controversy stemming from Indiana and Arkansas each passing Religious Freedom Restoration Acts -- which opponents said amounted to a license to discriminate against LGBT people in business -- Perry fell in line with his party contemporaries, saying he supported Indiana Governor Mike Pence's original version of the law, which Pence ultimately amended after intense pressure from business leaders and activists.

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