Remember last week, when Rick Perry said he wasn't sure if ex-gay therapy worked or not? He was asked about his statement this morning and he backpedaled a little bit just before waffling a little bit. (You don't often see the waffle/backpedal combination in one television appearance, but Rick Perry, as we all know, is a once-in-a-generation talent when it comes to TV appearances.)
“I don’t know,” the Republican governor said on CNBC when asked whether he believes that there should be therapy programs to “cure” homosexuality. “The fact is, we’ll leave that to the psychologists and the doctors.”
Host Joe Kernen pushed back, saying that psychologists have already dismissed the idea that homosexuality is a disorder or treatable.
When asked further about homosexuality, Perry refused to “condone” it, but said he would respect the rights of each state to set its own laws on same-sex marriage.
“I don’t necessarily condone that lifestyle,” he said of homosexuality. “I don’t condemn it, either. We’re all children of God.”
I think it's fine for Perry to stick gay people in the purgatory of not-condemning/not-condoning. He's a bigot and he's on the wrong side of history and his opinion isn't going to halt or slow the march for gay rights at all. But his continued endorsement of the idea that gayness is "curable" could conceivably have hurt a lot of young gay people. Perry's backpedaling on ex-gay therapy is a signal that politicians aren't allowed to spread that dangerous idea on the national stage anymore.