Texas Gov. Rick Perry says it was a mistake to equate homosexuality with alcoholism in a Commonwealth Club appearance last week — not that he's apologizing for saying it.
In a Washington, D.C., press lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Thursday, Perry was asked what "side issues" the Republican Party "ought not be focusing on."
"I'm thinking San Francisco," Perry said. During his June 11 appearance here, he was asked whether homosexuality "can be cured by prayer or counseling?” The once and perhaps future GOP presidential candidate wound up comparing being gay to being alcoholic, a "lifestyle" one can choose not to follow.
Friday, Perry said, "I stepped right in it" when he made that statement.
"I got asked about an issue, and instead of saying, 'You know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country to everybody,' and get back to talking about, whether you're gay or straight, you need to be having a job."
Perry added: "If you're really going to be the party that's going to go talk to everybody, and say, 'Listen, you may not agree with all of my positions, but getting you and your family and your loved ones the opportunity to live a better life because we have created a climate in this country where you're going to have a job, and a good job, and a good-paying job,' if we'll do that, then I think we'll be successful. If we spend all our time being deflected onto this social issue or that social issue, then ..."
A reporter asked if he was suggesting "a truce on social issues."
Perry responded: "We are an incredibly diverse mosaic of a country, and it goes back to my 10th Amendment belief that a lot of these issues should be decided at the state level. Social issues are a couple of them, and our country will be happier. If we're economically happy and we allow people to go live in the environments of which they're most comfortable, then we're going to be a happier country. And that ought to be one of our goals as our government, not only to make people economically sounder, but find ways so that they live in peace and happiness."