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Rick Perry Tangles With Stephanie Cutter Over Gay Rights Issues

Texas Gov. Rick Perry punted when asked to stand by his remarks comparing homosexuality to alcoholism on this Wednesday's Crossfire.
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It seems that Texas' wingnut Gov. Goodhair Rick Perry is still having a bit of trouble explaining why he decided it was a good idea to compare being gay to being an alcoholic during an event with the Commonwealth Club of California last week.

CNN's Stephanie Cutter tried to pin him down on whether he really meant to say that homosexuality is a disease on this Wednesday's Crossfire and the best Perry could do is start talking about "state rights." I shudder to think what sort of country we'd be living in if Republicans were actually allowed to give back to the states control over every issue they did not like. We're seeing it already with them rolling back voting rights and what they've done with the Medicaid expansions, along with a host of other issues, but that's Perry's solution to everything.

CUTTER: But I do want to get to one other issue. Governor, you've taken some heat on something you said about homosexuality. I was struck by your comments. I want to show what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic. But I have the desire not to do that. I look at the homosexual issue as the same way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUTTER: You're saying alcoholism is a disease, we know that. Are you saying that homosexuality is a disease as well?

PERRY: I think my position has been fairly clear on that for a substantial period of time. And here's what's more important --

CUTTER: If you can just tell us your position.

PERRY: No, I'm going to tell you where I think we need be as a country and focused on. And that is not on these social issues. I think the social issues, frankly, should be decided state by state rather than being something in Washington, D.C., to try to make one size fits all, whether it's --

CUTTER: This is not a Washington, D.C., issue we're talking about here.

PERRY: From the standpoint of social issues and where this country is relative to that, we're a very diverse country when you think about it, Stephanie.

CUTTER: So why were you referring to alcoholism then?

PERRY: I got asked the question and I responded in the way that I have before.

CUTTER: That alcoholism is a disease. You have the gene.

PERRY: The issue is one that needs to be decided state by state. These social issues like that.

CUTTER: OK, let's talk about your state. Your Republican Party in Texas just adopted conversion therapy as part of their political platform. Now, conversion therapy is when you -- there's a belief that you can, through therapy, cure people of being homosexual.

Now, that's been rejected by the medical community for almost four decades. That's being decided by Texas. You're the governor of Texas. You're the leader of the Republican Party in Texas. Isn't that exactly what you were saying? Isn't that the same thing that you said?

PERRY: I said in that remark that I'd leave that to the psychiatrists and the doctors. But here's my important issue --

CUTTER: They've rejected it. They've rejected it.

PERRY: I'm tell you, the more important issue is one that we need to be focused on in this country and that's to get this country back working again.

CUTTER: So, you don't have an opinion on any of this then? You don't have an opinion on either side?

PERRY: I think my statements stand on your own.

CUTER: I don't understand it.

PERRY: I can't help you understand it.

CUTTER: OK. All right.

CHAFEE: Very proud in Rhode Island we have marriage equality and we're a free state and everybody's welcome.

PERRY: And you know what? That's Rhode Island's choice and I agree with that. And if we as a country will get back to allowing the states to decide these instead of -- we got lots of big issues in this country like how do we get this country back working again, how do we secure the border, how do we have a foreign policy that is actually not feckless.

CUTTER: OK. We're going to go to a quick break. So, stay here.


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