Rick Perry met with the Commonwealth Club of California yesterday and spoke on everything from Eric Cantor's defeat to homosexuality—in particular, sharing his belief that the latter can be overcome. "Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," the potential 2016 candidate said. "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." The comments were in response to a moderator question on whether he thought being gay is a disorder, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
CBS San Francisco notes his remarks drew gasps from a handful of audience members; the Chronicle notes a "murmur of disbelief" surfaced. The Washington Post points out the comment is a bit of a recycled one. Perry wrote in his 2008 book On My Honor, "Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender." On Cantor's defeat, Perry noted, "It's pretty simple: Spend plenty of time in your home district."