Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) appeared on CNBC this morning and responded to his recent comparison of gay people to alcoholics. In the process, the former presidential candidate made everything worse by making vague and false claims about LGBT people.
Throughout the interview with co-anchor Joe Kernen on CNBC's Squawk Box, Gov. Perry provided perspectives that have been professionally proven to be inaccurate about the LGBT community on a range of issues.
The conversation started with Gov. Perry dodging a question about marriage equality:
CNBC: If Texas decide that gay marriage was okay, you'd be alright with that?
Perry: Well, Texas has made the decision on that already by a vote of over 75%. They said that marriage is between one man and one woman and I respect that. And I respect whatever they want to do in California or New York, for that matter.
(In February, a judge in Texas ruled that the state's ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional.)
Next in the interview, Perry passed up an opportunity to retract his previous statements about gay people "choosing" a "lifestyle" similar to that of alcoholism:
CNBC: In terms of comparing it to alcoholism, that's what got all the play, and I have a really high bar for what I would take offense to, but that would exceed the bar for me. I don’t think gay marriage leads to cirrhosis of the liver, domestic violence, or DWIs. I don't see how that's similar.
Perry: I understand people have different opinions on that. The interesting thing for me is that this conversation has always been about states' rights to make decisions on these hosts of issues—
Perry's response here may give a person pause. The fact that marriage equality does not lead to public, personal, or interpersonal health concerns is not an opinion, despite Perry claiming such. Perry's decision to deny that fact is a harmful and an illogical choice. Same goes for his thoughts on "ex-gay conversion therapy":
CNBC: But in terms of changing the behaviors of someone…you don't think there should be therapy to try to change them into a heterosexual?
Perry: I don't know. We'll leave that to the psychologists and the doctors.
CNBC: Psychologists have already weighed in. they dismissed the idea that sexual orientation is a mental disorder, and they've told their mental health professionals to avoid telling clients they can change their sexual orientation.
Gov. Perry's stance on this issue is not only outdated and uninformed, but has been proven to do a disservice to the health of people who are LGBT, particularly LGBT youth. Bans on the practice have been enacted in places such as California and New Jersey, and proposed in multiple states, including New York, Illinois, and Minnesota.
CNBC: If you were to run again, there are upstanding gay couples, good citizens, good parents, you would agree with us. They're gonna be with us forever. It just seems that the Republican Party is going to be forever behind the curb on issues like this.
Perry: I don't necessarily condone that lifestyle. I don't condemn it either. We're all children of God. The fact is that people will decide where they want to live if Washington will respect the 10th amendment…and allow people to decide how they want to live…
CNBC: Like I said, I know who I want to change, and, I don't care what your sexual orientation is, or anything else...[I support] personal freedom, earned success, individual initiative, small government, low taxes.
Perry: Sounds like you need to come live in Texas.
CNBC: Sounds like I need to come live in Texas? I don't know.
Gov. Perry attempted to portray his extreme perspective as standard politics and as a defense of individual freedoms. However, Joe Kernen, a self-proclaimed conservative, clearly illustrated that the Governor's statements were factually baseless and not representative of the entire Republican Party or conservative ideology. Indeed, Gov. Perry once again demonstrated himself to be anti-gay and uninformed—while holding political influence and a national audience, nonetheless. Kernen knew the facts before the interview started and held Gov. Perry accountable for his false claims throughout.
Gov. Perry has long demonstrated interests in preventing loving couples from marrying, fighting against LGBT families' legal protections, and supporting harmful "therapy" practices against LGBT youth. These actions actively stand in opposition to his claimed interest of allowing people to live their lives freely.
By the way, does anyone else remember the time Rick Perry said gay people were weakening America, and it cost him the presidential nomination?
You can watch the full CNBC clip below: