Rick Perry finally admitted he "stepped in it" when he compared homosexuality and alcoholism. Last week, Perry responded to a question about the Texas GOP's "ex-gay" therapy platform by implying that being gay is a disease you can choose not to indulge, like alcoholism. To be clear, he didn't apologize — his mistake, he said, was that he got distracted by social issues instead of focusing on jobs.
During a lunch with the Christian Science Monitor, Perry said that “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,' ... I stepped right in it,” he said, according to Politico.
Perry previously said that while he's "not a doctor," alcoholics have a genetic disposition to their disease, but can choose to overcome it. "I look at the homosexual issue the same way," he said. But to be "the party that’s going to talk to everyone," Perry said on Thursday that Republicans need to tell people that, despite their policy difference, they want to give people economic stability by way of "a good paying job."
In other words, Perry didn't say he shouldn't have said it, or that he's sorry he said it, or even that it was incorrect, but that he did something dumb by expressing his views on a social issue instead of focusing on something else. During an appearance on CNN's Crossfire on Wednesday, he echoed the same sentiment — gay rights should be a state issue, so the country can get back to bigger issues. "If we as a country will get back to allowing the states to decide these ... 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," he said.
It's true that presidential campaigns should focus on important issues. But if Perry's best excuse for ignoring (or supporting) anti-gay policies is that it's an unimportant social issue better left to the states, then his 2016 campaign will go about as well as 2012.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.