Texas Gov. Rick Perry compared homosexuality to alcoholism during a discussion with Commonwealth Club of California members in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Perry said Wednesday that conversion therapy, a treatment meant to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals, may not be effective, but being homosexual is a choice.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry told interviewer Greg Dalton.
"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."
His comments have drawn criticism with the Human Rights Campaign arguing that Perry lacked true expertise on the subject.
"Although he may not have the 'genetic coding' to think before he speaks, Rick Perry, M.D. should have a real conversation with actual doctors before voicing his expertise on these issues,” said HRC's Fred Sainz.
“Every major mental health and medical organization in the country has condemned practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.”
California was the first state to legally recognize same-sex couples with domestic partnership rights in 1999. The state has also banned conversion therapy. Same-sex marriage was approved in 2013.
Texas, however, has a ban on gay marriage, but that ban was ruled unconstitutional. The state has appealed that ruling.
Publication date: June 13, 2014