Let's just say it right now - Bill Richardson self-immolated tonight on live TV. I haven't seen anyone fumble a question like this so badly.
MS. ETHERIDGE: Thank you. Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?
GOV. RICHARDSON: It's a choice. It's --
MS. ETHERIDGE: I don't know if you understand the question. (Soft laughter.) Do you think I -- a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, "Ooh, I want to be gay"?
GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I -- I'm not a scientist. It's -- you know, I don't see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency. I see it as a matter of love and companionship and people loving each other. You know I don't like to categorize people. I don't like to, like, answer definitions like that that, you know, perhaps are grounded in science or something else that I don't understand.
Karen Ocamb said there were gasps, and hisses in the audience. A Richardson supporter, Richard Zaldavar, said, that it's a sentiment in the Latino and black communities that homosexuality is a choice (ostensibly to rationalize Richardson stepping on that land mine). He was given ample opportunity to extract himself from the situation, but it really went downhill from there. One other hurdle he didn't clear was a direct question from Joe Solmonese about what the governor would do if the New Mexico legislature presented him with a marriage equality bill. He wouldn't answer the question. [..]
UPDATE: Governor Richardson called me to discuss his comments that homosexuality is a choice. I was writing as fast as I could to get quotes close to verbatim. You can draw your own conclusions about them.
He says that was confused by the question, saying that it was tricky and it threw him off that it was asked in the context of biology and science. He said "I knew when I was walking out of the parking lot that I had said something in error. My staff alerted me that I needed to set the record straight."
He went on to say, "This is something you are born with, and regardless of whether there is conflict about the science of it (homosexuality), I support full and equal rights. I fully support domestic partnerships."
This is disappointing to say the least...I'm a big fan of Gov. Richardson but this was just fundamentally stupid. You don't go to a GLBT debate and not have this answer prepped. There's no excuse in the 21st century for a Democrat to fumble this one.