- (CNBC Squawk Box screen grab)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is an outspoken evangelical Christian, said he doesn't "condemn" the gay lifestyle and said "we're all children of God" in a recent interview where he tried to clarify a statement he made in which he compared homosexual temptation to alcoholism.
In an interview with CNBC Squawk Box host Joe Kerner on June 16, Perry asserted that gay rights laws need to be left up to the states, while noting that everyone is equal before God.
"I don't necessarily condone that lifestyle. I don't condemn it, either. We're all children of God," Perry said. "And the fact is that people will decide where they want to live if Washington will respect the Tenth Amendment and I think that will make America substantially happier if they will respect that and allow people how they want to live and under what rules and regulations."
Perry's original comments touching on homosexuality and alcoholism were made during an event in San Francisco while conversing with the moderator at the Commonwealth Club of California regarding whether he considered homosexuality to be 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, according to MSNBC. "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."
Following criticism over his remarks, Kerner asked Perry whether or not he believes gay reparative therapy can be beneficial to which he replied, "You know, I don't know. The fact is, we'll leave that to the psychologists and doctors."
In an effort to divert from the topic, Perry suggested that there are far greater issues that the government needs to focus on other than the topic of homosexuality.
"The focus needs to be on creating jobs and creating an environment in this country that people can find the places that they want to live … and that's been constricted substantially by a president that's putting EPA regulations into place that are strangling this country," Perry said.
However, Perry's attempt to be neutral on homosexuality is causing a stir among some Christians, who are already criticizing his views.
Pastor Mark Herridge of Pentecostal Lighthouse Church in Livingston, Texas says Perry is in between trying to appease Christians "without agitating the militant homosexual community."
"The Bible, God, and Christianity has never been vague on any of their viewpoints and this includes homosexuality," Herridge said, according to Christian News Network. "Homosexuality is a perversion of human nature and is soundly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. … Mr. Perry claims to be a born again Christian, and if he is to continue to do so, then he must take a clear stand on one side or the other on this issue."
Perry, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in the 2012 election, is considering another possible presidential bid in 2016.