Texas Governor Rick Perry has recently made comments that reflect a more antiquated perspective on the disease of alcoholism and the ‘homosexual lifestyle.’ It’s the year 2014 and I’m left wondering, when will we evolve beyond these outdated, close-minded beliefs already?
The Texan, made some pretty racy statements regarding gay people and alcoholism in – of all places – San Francisco, CA. Rick Perry compared so-called ‘homosexual behavior’ to alcoholic behavior, saying that he views them in the same light: someone might have a genetic inclination to behave a certain way but they also “have the ability not to do that.”
So, basically, the governor of the second largest state in the United States equated homosexuality with alcoholism. Did he really suggest that gay people should simply refrain from homosexual activity, the same way an alcoholic should choose not drink?
It sounds like Gov. Perry is saying that gay people ought to learn not to “engage” in their “lifestyle.”
Perry expressed a similar view in his 2008 book on the Boy Scouts, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For, defending them against what he deemed as attacks from gay and liberal activists. A book in which Perry examined how, since 1976, both liberal groups and gay activists had attacked the Boy Scouts’ policies regarding membership.
“Even if [homosexuality] were [a genetic predisposition], this does not mean we are ultimately not responsible for the active choices we make. Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol, once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. 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.”
Rick Perry Under Fire After Offending Alcoholics And Homosexuals In The Same Sentence
Is Rick Perry saying that both alcoholism and homosexuality are problems that need fixing? Was he suggesting that homosexuality, like alcoholism, is a disease?
Alcoholism was first characterized as a medical disease by the American Medical Association more than 60 years ago. And, although there is no cure for alcoholism, there is a the possibility to recover, with daily spiritual maintenance that allows reprieve from the disease. In fact, in America alone, there are more than 23 million people who self-identify as people in recovery from some form of addiction.
Perry’s comments in which he compares homosexuality to alcoholism, demonstrate that he believes both to be some kind of moral failing. Yet, neither alcoholism nor homosexuality qualifies as such. These comments are insulting to people in recovery from addiction by suggesting that their problem is really about making poor choices – that they choose to drink and drug and that they can simply, by willpower alone, choose not do so. And Perry’s sentiments must be terribly insulting to gay people because he makes it sound like being gay is a choice, a disease; a problem that needs fixing.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.