Rick Perry: ’I Stepped Right In It’ Regarding Oops Moment Linking Gays to Alcoholics
After a week of occupying numerous headlines and debates over a statement made likening homosexuality to alcoholism, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) appears to be backing away from the hot button social issue and diverting attention to the economy, MSNBC reports.
"I got asked about an issue, and instead of saying, 'You know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country, and get back to talking about, whether you're gay or straight you need to be having a job, and those are the focuses I want to be involved with,'" Perry said at a Christian Science Monitor event held Thursday during the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference organized by Christian activist Ralph Reed. "Instead of getting - which I did, I readily admit, I stepped right in it."
In a further attempt to shift the conversation to the economy, Perry continued, "If you're really going to be the party that's going to go talk to everybody and say, 'Listen, you may not agree with all of my positions, but getting you and your family, your loved ones the opportunity to live a better life because we have 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."
Perry's original comments likening homosexuality to alcoholism came during a conversation on June 11 where he was asked about recent plank language adopted by the Texas GOP that advocates gay conversion therapy.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry 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."
Perry's comment drew fire almost immediately from critics on both sides of the aisle, most notably from fellow Republican governor and presumptive challenger for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, Chris Christie of New Jersey.
' target='new'>As previously reported by EDGE, when speaking to a group of reporters in San Francisco last week, the New Jersey governor was asked if the Republican Party and the Republican Governors Association, which is headed by Christie, should disavow Perry's statements.
"I don't believe that's an apt analogy and not one that should be made because I think it's wrong," Christie said. He added, however, that governors and other public officials can say what they want about hot button issues.
Perry's comments continued to hold center stage Wednesday, when during a broadcast of CNN's "Crossfire " the governor was grilled by co-host Stephanie Cutter who repeatedly asked him to explain the comment.
"Why were you referring to alcoholism, could you explain that?" she asked.
"I got asked a question and I responded in the way that I have before," the governor said before adding, "The issue is one that needs to be decided state-by-state."
Cutter, not missing a beat, told Perry to talk about his state, Texas.
"Your Republican Party in Texas just adopted conversion therapy as part of their political platform. You're the governor of Texas, you're the leader of the Republican Party in Texas isn't that exactly what you're saying?" Cutter said.
On Thursday, Politico reported Perry referred to his 2012 campaign for president as "painful" and "humbling."