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Rick Perry admits: 'stepped right in it' during talk in San Francisco

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is acknowledging he “stepped right in it “ when he compared homosexuality to alcoholism during a talk in San Francisco last week.

Texas Governor Rick Perry during his talk at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club.
Texas Governor Rick Perry during his talk at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club.
Commonwealth Club of San Francisco

Speaking to a gathering of reporters in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Perry admitted he wished he had answered differently when asked in San Francisco last Wednesday if he believed homosexuality is a disorder.

"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry said in response to a question during his appearance at the Commonwealth Club of California.

"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."

His response prompted murmurs and at least a few gasps from the crowd gathered at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, a landmark San Francisco hotel.

It also prompted an outcry from members of the San Francisco’s gay community, as well as from California Lt Gov.Gavin Newsom, who demanded Perry apologize for what Newsom termed “ignorant and hateful remarks.”

But in response to a reporter’s question during Thursday’s press luncheon hosted by the The Christian Science Monitor, the Republican governor conceded he wished he had answered the question in San Francisco by focusing on what is frequently his favorite topic -- job creation.

“I got asked about an issue,” Perry said, “and instead of saying, ‘You know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country, and get back to talking about, whether you’re gay or straight you need to be having a job, and those are the focuses I want to be involved with,’ instead of getting — which I did, I readily admit, I stepped right in it.”

Perry had used a similar term to describe an infamous gaffe during a debate between Republican presidential candidates in November of 2011 when he could not recall the third of three federal agencies he said should be shut down. He pulled out of the race a few weeks later.

Perry, who consistently campaigns to lure companies from other states to move to Texas, while also said to be considering another run for president, frequently trumpets the Texas economy and job creation in the state.

On Friday, his office released a statement saying 56,000 new jobs had been added in Texas in May, dropping the state’s unemployment rate to 5.1 percent.

"By virtually every measure, the Texas job creation machine is firing on all cylinders. Texas has added nearly 400,000 jobs in the past 12 months, making this the largest year-to-year job increase in nearly 17 years,” the statement said.

“Texas continues to be the epicenter of job creation in America and today's numbers are further proof that if you want a job, or your company needs employees, Texas is the best place in America to find both."