Texas Gov. Rick Perry this morning appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” a forum that was not going to let him off the air without pushing him on last week’s controversy. In a San Francisco appearance Wednesday night, Perry said: “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.”

As he addressed that bit of Perryan wisdom this morning on CNBC, “Squawk Box” co-anchor Joe Kernen said he has a “really high bar” for what offends him. Comparisons between alcoholism and homosexuality, said Kernen, “would exceed the bar for me. … I don’t think gay marriage leads to cirrhosis of the liver or domestic violence or DWIs … I don’t see how that’s similar.”

Perry responded, “I understand people have different opinions about that,” and then began talking about states’ rights vs. Washington. Kernen interrupted: “But in terms of changing the behavior of someone … You wouldn’t think that someone who is heterosexual, that you couldn’t change them into a homosexual. Or someone who’s homosexual — you don’t think there should be therapy to try to change them into a heterosexual.” The question was relevant in part because the Texas Republican Party has a platform that supports widely discredited “reparative therapy.

Perry again punted: “I don’t know. The fact is, we’ll leave that to the psychologists and the doctors.”

“The psychologists — they’ve already weighed in,” said Kernen. “They’ve dismissed the idea that sexual orientation is a mental disorder and they’ve told their mental health professionals to avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation.”

After some back-and-forth about job creation, Kernen returned to the topic of gay people, arguing, in effect, that there are gay couples who are good citizens and who “are going to be with us forever.” Republicans are doing themselves no favors by alienating them, suggested Kernen. To which Perry replied, “I don’t necessarily condone that lifestyle. I don’t condemn it, either. We’re all children of God.”

Kernen and Perry found some common ground after all. Kernen praised the virtues of “personal freedom, earned success, individual initiative, small government, low taxes.” Perry retorted, “Sounds like you need to come live in Texas.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.