When it comes to the fundamental question of whether being gay is a choice, the American people are pretty much in agreement: There is no choice involved. A Post-ABC News poll from March showed that 65 percent of those surveyed “say being homosexual is just the way people are, rather than the way they choose to be.” And that’s up from 49 percent when the question was first asked by the poll in 1994.


(The Washington Post)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is not among them. When asked yesterday in San Francisco (of all places!) if being gay was a disorder that could be overcome, the former and perhaps future presidential aspirant said it was.

Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. 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 latest gay musings come days after his state’s Republican Party endorsed quackery known as “reparative therapy” for gay people. Never mind the American Psychological Association declared in a 1997 resolution: “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and the APA opposes all portrayals of lesbian, gay and bisexual people as mentally ill and in need of treatment due to their sexual orientation.”

Sadly, Perry’s comments prove him to be stubbornly consistent. Three years ago, I popped Perry for comments made in his 2008 book on the Boy Scouts. “Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink,” he wrote. “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.”

As an openly gay person, I can personally attest to the whole homosexuality is “just the way people are” thing. I mean, who would willingly choose to be targeted for discrimination, second-class citizenship or death? If only folks like Perry would choose to accept that God made us this way — and stop trying to correct something that doesn’t need to fixed.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.