The outgoing Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, drew a “murmur of disbelief” Wednesday when at an event in San Francisco he compared homosexuality to alcoholism, but those were far from his first controversial statements about gays.
In fact, he has been comparing homosexuality to alcoholism for years, including in his 2008 book, On My Honor. “Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink,” the former presidential candidate 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.”
Perry’s most famous anti-gay volley was probably the 2011 campaign ad for his last presidential run that denounced the fact that “gays can serve openly in the military.” He also has compared his opposition to gays belonging to the Boy Scouts with former Texas Governor Sam Houston brave stance against slavery. He has also called the Obama administration’s use of American foreign aid to promote human rights for gays and lesbians abroad a “silly idea.”
“Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights. This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop,” Perry said in a statement.
In his 2010 book Fed Up!, Perry condemned the “oligarchs in robes” of the Supreme Court for the 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down anti-sodomy laws in America, which had long been used to target gay couples.
Not all Perry’s statements about homosexuality have been anti-gay. Perry has said that gay marriage is ultimately a state’s rights issue and that it was “fine with [him]” for New York to allow gays to marry, though he later walked back that position. At a Dallas Baptist church last year he suggested a more accepting approach to other “lifestyles”—he never actually said “gay” though many afterward interpreted the sermon as an implicit pivot away from anti-gay rhetoric.
“We cannot condemn certain lifestyles while turning a blind eye to sins that in God’s eye are just as grievous,” he said. “We must love all, welcome all and be a model of Christ to all. “