WASHINGTON (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said it was a mistake for him to use a story about alcoholism to explain his views on homosexuality.
Perry said Thursday at a forum hosted by The Christian Science Monitor that he “stepped right in it” after being asked during a trip to California last week if homosexuality is a disorder.
Perry said at the time that if he had the “genetic coding” to be an alcoholic, he still has the choice not to drink. “I look at the homosexual issue as the same way,” he told the Commonwealth Club of California.
His response came after the Texas Republican Convention sanctioned platform language allowing Texans to seek voluntary counseling to “cure” being gay.
The platform stands in contrast to California and New Jersey, which have banned licensed professionals from providing such therapy to minors.
The governor, a potential Republican candidate for president, explained Thursday that he allowed himself to be “distracted” by the question.
He said he should have kept his focus on the importance of creating jobs.
“I got asked about issues, and instead of saying, ‘You know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country to everybody,’ and get back to talking about, whether you’re gay or straight, you need to be having a job,” he said. “I readily admit I stepped right in it.”
Perry’s explanation is similar to one he gave in the aftermath of a November 2011 presidential debate when he forgot the third of three federal agencies he had pledged to dissolve.
“I’m glad I had my boots on tonight,” he said at the time. “I stepped in it out there.”