Politics

Sexual orientation makes surprise appearance as campaign issue

Photo of Jon Ward
Jon Ward
Contributor
  • See All Articles
  • Send Email
  • Subscribe to RSS
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Bio

      Jon Ward

      Jon Ward covers the White House and national politics for The Daily Caller. He covered the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency for The Washington Times. Prior to moving to national politics, Jon worked for the Times' city desk and bureaus in Virginia and Maryland, covering local news and politics, including the D.C. sniper shootings and subsequent trial, before moving to state politics in Maryland. He and his wife have two children and live on Capitol Hill. || <a href="mailto:jw@dailycaller.com">Email Jon</a>

Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck looked surprised and uncomfortable when asked Sunday whether homosexuality is a choice or not. But nonetheless, he said he thought it was.

“I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice,” Buck said when asked by David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Buck told reporters on set after the show finished taping that he didn’t understand why he was asked the question by Gregory.

“In 800 interviews, meetings, events, never having been asked that question before. Colorado voters aren’t focused on whether it’s a choice or whatever,” he said.

Indeed, social issues — sexual orientation included — are nowhere near the top of the list of concerns that voters say they are focused on this election cycle.

But comments this week on the issue by President Obama and one of his closest advisers, Valerie Jarrett — as well as recent developments regarding the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — have reinserted the issue into the national discussion.

Obama, asked whether he thought that homosexuality is a choice or not at a “youth town hall” hosted by MTV and BET networks on Thursday, said emphatically that he thinks homosexuality is a genetic trait.

“This is a layperson’s opinion. But I don’t think it’s a choice,” Obama said. “I think that people are born with a certain makeup, and that we’re all children of God. We don’t make determinations about who we love.”

“And that’s why I think that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong,” he said.

Just that morning, Jarrett had apologized for a remark she made a day before. In an interview with the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, Jarrett referred to  homosexuality as a “lifestyle choice” when talking about the suicide of a gay Minnesota teen.

Liberal bloggers pounced.

“Valerie Jarrett is an idiot,” wrote Teddy Partridge at FireDogLake.com. “Does Valerie Jarrett live in the early 1990s? Does she really believe that being LGBT is a ‘choice’ and a ‘lifestyle’ — and will she really get away with insulting the memory of a dead gay teen with this horrifying out-of-touch language?”

Michael Petrelis, a gay rights activist in San Francisco, was first to raise the issue.

“What an outrage to claim that the 15-year-old Aarberg made a choice to be gay, and that sexual orientation is a lifestyle,” Petrelis wrote. “Did she get her talking points from Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council? It’s doubly offensive that Capehart makes no effort to point out how dangerous Jarrett’s thinking is.”

By Wednesday evening, Jarrett had e-mailed an apology to Capehart, which he posted on the Washington Post’s website.

“I misspoke when I referred to someone’s sexual identity as a ‘lifestyle choice,’” Jarrett said. “I meant no disrespect to the LGBT community, and I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words.”

“Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice, and anyone who knows me and my work over the years knows that I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans,” she said.

  • independentvoter

    SEX of any type is NOT a campaign issue it’s a personal issue.. this is about everyone black, white, hispanic, straight, gay, men , women and children.. but we have those who exploit and divide which is what the DEMOCRATS are doing.. WAKE UP don’t give a crap about your sex life.. I’m concerned about my country and countrymen/women..

  • S-D-M

    HOMOSEXUALS ARE THE ASS-END OF EVOLUTION…AT 3% OF THE POPULATION, THEY ARE “ABNORMAL” BY STRICT DEFINITION…IN FACT IT MAKES THEM EXTREMELY ABNORMAL CONSIDERING THE RATIO. 30:1…YOU, THE 3%, QUIT TELLING THE 97% HOW T0 THINK.

    • des1

      The funny thing is, most Liberals are atheists (at least de facto). If they believe in evolution, then homosexuality would be nature’s way of weeding out less desirable traits among humans. At least Christians believe they are just people who are engaging in behavior that they shouldn’t. If it was me, I’d rather have someone tell me I was being naughty than someone telling me I was a genetic mistake.

    • truebearing

      Won’t it be interesting if stem cell research and genetics provide us a way to fix genetic anamolies and homosexuality can be corrected. I guess that would put everything back 100% in the realm of choice.

      • des1

        Can you even imagine the shrill shrieking of the activists? They’d claim it was on par with what Hitler was trying to do. {sigh}

        • The_anniebanannie

          I’m wondering…..if they discover it’s a genetic thing, and embryos can be tested for it, will the left be as ok with somebody aborting fetuses that have the homosexual genetic predisposition as they are with Down’s syndrome?

  • bensamton

    Why do any of you people care if someone chooses to live this way or if they’re born that way. Its not really any of your business what they do in their behind closed doors between two consenting adults. If you really care about restricitng the rights of people because of their sexual orientation then you are either truly a homophobic biggot or in denial about your own sexuality and you use your homophobia as a way of dealing with it. If you are against it for religious reasons I can respect that but we live in a secular state where people are free to live as they chose as long as they are not infringing on the rights of others- chances are they don’t want to join your religion anyway.

    • Supernatural Witness

      To what comment are you responding: If the article, it was the liberal gotcha interviewer who inserted this divisive question; If the thread, then, perhaps you should go back and read the thread because not a soul here asserted her desire to “restrict the rights” of anybody.

    • S-D-M

      Homosexuals have the biggest phobia of all—It’s called “normalphobia”..!

      • truebearing

        The left has a chronic case of phobaphobia.

        I wish they’d develop a terminal case of Ameriphobia and move to Russia.

    • clw

      Who are you kidding? That’s our biggest gripe! No one wants to hear about it LESS THAN we do! Oh but they have to insist on being at the White House Easter Egg roll (because we wouldn’t want the “average American family” to be the focus), and they have to be known as “The New York Gay Mens Choir” because we might confuse them with a heterosexual choir! They have to drape themselves in rainbows and “Act up” and get all in your face because God forbid you should keep your sexuality PRIVATE. And if you DON’T want to hear about it, your a “homophobe”. I don’t want to see it, hear it, and have to fight to keep it out of the school books and curriculums. They need to accept that they are a minute segment of the population, and that they’d get along alot better if they kept it to themselves! I guess our conservative values offend them. Well guess what? Their progressive values offend US.

      Is it “any of our business”?! HELL NO! So take it up with them!!! iF YOU CAN KEEP THEM QUIET, MORE POWER TO YOU!

    • clw

      …and btw, I’m not a religious zealot, I don’t go to church, and I’m not “afraid” of gays. I think sex is phenomenal, and I don’t have weird closet “issues”. I’m just sick to death of them forcing their sex sagas on us as though it’s anything more than sex! It’s getting OLD.

      …and bigot only has one g.

  • scorpioman
  • ricksincere

    I am not “LGBT.” I am gay. I am neither lesbian nor bisexual, and I am indisputably not transgendered.

    This use of this catch-all abbreviation is dehumanizing. Obama and his allies use the term in public as a way to hide what they are really talking about — homosexuality — with a wink toward progressives and gay-rights advocates who understand the dog-whistle language.

    Please, don’t call me “LGBT.” I am gay and quite content with that term.

    • Supernatural Witness

      First of all, only ODumbo calls it LGBT. It’s GBLT ie Gay Bisexual Lesbian Transgender. This is the Acronym chosen by the GBLTs which are a united policy contingent seeking to advance perverted lifestyles as normal in a way [such as redefining marriage; enacting hate crime laws; indoctrinating kindergarten curriculum; and silencing any opposing viewpoints] which causes people who otherwise would not care what you do in your closet to take a very proactive and determined resistance.

      If you don’t want GBLTs speaking for you, then you are welcome to join other non GBLT gays by forming your own counter policy group.

      I personally know of no mainstream conservative group which opposes closet sodomy.

      • Supernatural Witness

        OOPS, I am wrong the acronym is used in various orders including LGBT and GLBT.

      • baal

        You are now moving past the label of mere village idiot. You’re moving into flasher territory. That’s what you’re becoming. I’m going to ask you to actually read that book you keep quoting, maybe do a little praying, then come back and apologize for the way you’re spoken here.

        If you cannot do that, then I’m pretty sure you’re a militant atheist out to discredit Christianity. Seriously. All you’ve done is alienate others with your idiocy.

        Apologize.

        • des1

          I’m dying to know what he’s supposed to be apologizing for…other than for you taking offense at truthful statements, that is.

          • baal

            “Closet Sodomy”

            “Perverted Lifestyles”

            This particular individual seems to come to this site with the exclusive goal of re-inserting his homophobia into the conservative dialogue. We’ve come a long way from the notion that his interpretation of his religion has any utility for conservatism as a mass movement.

            Yes, I’m a libertarian. Yes, it’s his right to show up with voodoo and superstition. No, we don’t have to pretend that it’s anything but.

          • Supernatural Witness

            This particular individual [Baal] seems to come to this site with the exclusive goal of re-inserting his anti supernatural atheistic bigotry into the conservative dialogue. We’ve come a long way from the notion that dismissing the mainstream Evangelical Christian worldview held by close to half of the country has any utility for conservatism as a mass movement.

            Yes, I’m libertarian leaning. Yes, it’s Baal’s right to show up with bigotry and nature worship superstition. No, we don’t have to pretend that it’s anything but.

            EVOLUTION IS A MYTH.

          • des1

            Closet – To keep unseen

            Sodomy – The act of oral or anal penetration

            Ok, what part of that is so offensive? Are you saying straight people don’t engage in either? Now who’s being offensive?

            Perverted – This can mean anything from wicked to abnormal. Depending on his meaning, this is not exactly the dark ages of thought here (although it wouldn’t be stretching it to assume he meant wicked or sinful, which is pretty judgmental).

            Lifestyles – the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.

            I’m straining to find what bothered you so much about those two phrases. I agree that this guy wears his religion on his sleeve, so it’s easy to be offended by his pronouncements. But your post makes it sound like he had just gone off the deep end, but you don’t bother to explain why. I’m sorry, have we reached the point where we now have to apologize to anyone who might be offended by anything we might say?

            Awfully precious, aren’t you?

          • Supernatural Witness

            1 perverted–(of a thing) having been corrupted or distorted from its original course, meaning, or state

            2 pervert– a word used in the NIV Bible to translate the Greek word translated by KJV as homosexual: 1Tim. 1:10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers — and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

            Meaning 1 was my meaning but it should be noted that my point was that no one cares to know about consenting sexual deviant behavior behind closed doors. It is the codification of that deviance as nominative in the classroom, professional codes and law books that is troubling just as the codification of the Evolution Myth in the textbooks as if it were empirical science is troubling.

          • truebearing

            Baal,

            Your words: “You are now moving past the label of mere village idiot. You’re moving into flasher territory.”

            You seem to want the title of “village idiot” all to yourself. You have no grounds for this comment and in terms of education and intellect, I’d put a heap o’cash on Supernatural in a one-on-one debate with you.

            Your words: “If you cannot do that, then I’m pretty sure you’re a militant atheist out to discredit Christianity. Seriously. All you’ve done is alienate others with your idiocy.”

            And I’m thinking this is projection on your part. You claim to be libertarian but employ the tactics of the far left, using terms like “homophobe” to demonize your opponent and intimidate him into silence, or capitulation to your view. Not very libertarian of you to say the least.

            The term “homophobe” is a deception from the start. I don’t know anyone who is afraid of homosexuals, yet the leftist media and leftist politicians babble about it ad nauseam. It is a lie calculated to generate sympathy for yet another class of “victims” and heap yet more guilt on heterosexual, white, Christian conservatives, the targeted enemy of the left. You seem to be right there with them, Mr. “Libertarian”.

            “Apologize.”? To you? You’ve got it backwards. You are the one who should be apologizing.

            You said: “If your god is going to condemn you for that, then your your god is most likely satan.”

            This coming from a guy who chose an identity that happens to also be the name of one of the 7 demon princes of hell, or a short form of Beelzebub? Your name matches the hate of Christians evinced in your comments. You seem to be quite familiar (pun intended) with Satan and his demons. Beelzebub was also known as the “father of flies”, and Lucifer, “the father of lies”. Are you being honest, demon boy?

            As to your maunderings on conservatism, social conservatives are the backbone of conservatism, always have been, and always will be. They were the ones who stayed conservative when Independents, including many Libertarians, were voting for the Progressive Statists we’re now fighting to get rid of. In fact, Libertarian independents have been given credit for giving Obama his margin of victory.

            You claim to be for a conservative movement, and yet despise those who wrote the constitution that is at the core of this conservative movement. Christians wrote the constitution, including the protection from state controlled religion, so it seems to me you are doctrinally befuddled, or profoundly dishonest. Name one other instance in history when a constitution was drafted by a group from a politically dominant religion, where they protected the rights of religions different from their own. I doubt you’ll find one, but if you do, it will be an imitation of our masterpiece of a constitution.

            You should not only be apologizing to all Christians, but thanking them for their brilliant, justice defending, freedom protecting vision. Instead, all you can muster is nasty bigotry, the very thing you claim to abhor. That is called hypocrisy.

            Fiscal conservatism is basically following the financial virtues of fiscal restraint. Fiscal conservatives believe that debt is the road to corrupt politics and that big spending inevitably destroys the morals of the nation.

            Libertarians believe that individual liberty morally necessarily requires free markets, minimal government, prudent spending, low to non-existent taxation.

            So fiscal conservatism, libertarian or otherwise, is based in morality too. You either don’t understand that, or choose to ignore it because you hate Christianity. It comes down to you not wanting people who believe in God to have the same rights you have, and don’t want them “legislating morality” because you want to legislate your own. Again, this is hypocrisy.

        • Supernatural Witness

          I don’t think it’s choice. All the [Christian] friend I have say they were born [again] that way and they knew early on that they were different. I’ll defer to the experience of actual [Christian] people on that because I’m not [Christian.]

          -Baal [whose moniker is the arch enemy of God in the Old Testament]

        • Supernatural Witness

          I apologize for calling the POTUS ODumbo, after all he was right about the acronym and I was wrong.

          As for my statement of Christian and/or Biblical world view, as I said before the majority of the world’s population and the majority of US citizens agree with me not with you. The Evangelicals that blog here tend to agree that I am stating it accurately enough for their general agreement on most points. Only you and LeFrank can’t tolerate me. Could it be that you two are intolerant anti- Christian bigots that won’t give Christians the same freedom of expression that you expect for Atheists, Muslims, or sexual deviants.

          Let me be plain when I say that Libertarians (under 10%) need us more than we SoCons (40%) need them politically. You need to be courting us. Now Apologize!

          • baal

            I know a lot of christians and most of them have moved past the cultural bigotry they were raised with, Yes, their views evolved. Yours can too. There are a few bigots that I know still, and when confronted with their bigotry, when asked to explain it, they can’t.
            Yes, there are some passages in the bible which can be used to justify bigotry, what I’m telling you is that you don’t have to pay any attention to that. If your god is going to condemn you for that, then your your god is most likely satan.
            There’s a passage that says, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
            Now, are you supposed to lend that passage equal weight as the “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination?”

            Are you a true believer? Or do you pick and choose? You might claim to be a true believer but it’s most likely that you pick and choose or you’d prolly be in prison right now for multiple homicides.

            If you’re gonna be honest about all this, youre going to come face to face with the fact that you are CHOOSING which part to prioritize, most likely as a justification to hate.

          • baal

            In fact almost ALL of the people I know are christians, jews, or muslims. I DO believe in god, and yes, he created the universe. I am not an atheist or an agnostic.

            The vast majority of the christians and jews I know are good people and only one of them that I know of speaks like you. The one that does is a drunk that urinates on himself.

            Evolution is a theory to describe observed phenomena in the physical world. Do not conflate subject and object.

          • des1

            “Let me be plain when I say that Libertarians (under 10%) need us more than we SoCons (40%) need them politically.”

            OK, you need to lay off the crack before you post. The 40% number you are quoting is a complete myth. 40% of people identify themselves as Conservative (not SoCons). Out of that 40%, you have people like McCain who Conservatives call a RINO (that is at least 10% of self-identifying Conservatives). Another 10%-20% are fiscally Conservative or have other issues (like the military) that they are Conservative on while they don’t share the ideology on every Conservative issue. What you’re left with is 10% (maybe) of SoCons who constantly claim they are more important than that and must be listened to.

            To be honest, I don’t consider them Conservative since most of them advocate for bigger government as well.

          • Supernatural Witness

            Aren’t you going to ask me if I eat shellfish? Your stale unoriginal arguments are confusing Old Testament legal codes which were national laws with the New Testament Gospel which holds out hope to any (including homosexuals) who are willing to believe. It is not enough to believe in God, to obtain eternal life one must believe the Gospel which is that thru Adam all are sinners but thru Christ’s sacrifice all who are willing to believe may be born again by the supernatural regeneration of the Holy Spirit.

            Evolution is a mythology based on vain imaginations of wicked men who seek to explain the unobservable past by conjecturing about the currently available observable data. The data actually goes farther in support of a young earth and of a Christian world view. Take for instance the fact that the ocean has not reached saturation. If the universe were old, the ocean would have already become totally saturated with mineral salts. But it has not. It is growing saltier.

            You want objective empiricism, I give you 1 billion first person witnesses to verify the veracity of the Bible with their personal conversion which matches the account in the Book. Here is empiricism: Line me up a hundred souls hungry for God, and I will impart the Holy Spirit to them, and they will manifest the outward response such as falling under the power, shaking uncontrollably, speaking in tongues, dilated pupils, countenance change, and the main one: they will experience cleansing from sin and the tangible presence of God filling them.

            Best of all you don’t need to take my word for it. Go to the very largest or very smallest church in your area and you will find it happening there. Turn on TV. All that stuff that happens on the money hungry evangelist channel is real and happens to people in your town.

            Even apart from the Charismata, the regular old Baptists can demonstrate repeatedly and consistently as an empirical science the greatest miracle of life changing salvation in their churches.

          • Supernatural Witness

            Jews don’t eat shellfish. It is called a kosher diet. Christians are not Jews. They are free to eat all things except blood and meat from strangled animals.

  • Newly Minted

    “Is homosexuality genetic or a choice?”

    Isn’t that the wrong question? It’s so wrong that it seems unbelievable that anyone would ask it.

    The real question is what is the origin of it? After living in this horrible lifestyle for over thirty years, I know that the main cause of it is the lack of a close bond with the parent of the same sex in early childhood. This is razor clear if you’ve dealt with other men with SSA all your life, like I have. The whole thing is a search for the love of another man that we didn’t get growing up.

    The next question should be whether this lifestyle is dangerous or not? It is most destructive. While many of you live on the sidelines where this issue has the superficial look of being about “who you love”, for those of us in the front lines the issue is about the reality of homosexual conduct. That conduct is all about self-destructive behavior. It’s about massive kink, of a kind that few are ready to believe even exists. It’s about promiscuity, failed relationships, depression, drugs, hopelessness and suicide.

    The recent media enshrined cases of younger people who have killed themselves is, of course, taken out of context. Suicide is a problem for homosexuals of all ages. There is a huge suicide problem among “out” homosexuals. The December 2009 issue of the Advocate listed the ten most famous gay deaths of 2009. All of these people were “out.” Three out of ten had killed themselves. Since then a decadent, drug using British homosexual writer killed himself. Though extreme bullying may contribute to teen suicide, it can’t explain the amount of suicides in adult, “out” homosexuals.

    Take a look at the famous homosexuals these days…Lindsay Lohan, Rosie O’Donnell, Boy George, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Andy Dick, etc. None of these is mentally sound. All of these show serious signs of mental instability.

    The next question is why is society so praising of homosexuality and so wrathful towards Christianity. Certainly some of this has to do with the behavior of those in the Church. But there’s more to it than that. A large part of the antipathy to Christianity is out of guilt. The Church is the vessel for our shared morality. In an immoral world, the Church takes on the part of a conscience that this world does not want to hear. People know that their lives are out of whack but they feel helpless to change. And so they attack Christianity.

    Straight people know that the same licentiousness that they chose is the same licentiousness that homosexuals have. Without the breakdown of the straight society, no straight person would accept homosexuality.