HRC Blog

HRC Asks GOP Candidates: Where Do You Stand on Herman Cain’s Remarks?

Herman CainPost submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

One day after GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain appeared on “The View” and declared that people choose to be gay, HRC is asking Cain’s fellow candidates to clarify where they stand on the issue.

Cain’s fellow candidates should be mindful that implying  sexual orientation is a choice is dangerous because it gives value to roundly disproven practices like ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapy – the side effects of which include depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. Leading medical organizations including the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association have come out strongly against practices aimed at changing  sexual orientation.

The anti-gay animus is not new to this GOP campaign season. Michele Bachman has a long track record of spreading lies about homosexuality – including saying that being gay was like being “part of Satan;” and her husband Marcus is alleged to have practiced reparative therapy at his Minnesota clinic. Rick Perry also has a proven anti-gay record, culminating in his August “Response” event – sponsored by the rabidly anti-gay American Family Association. And Rick Santorum has long attacked LGBT Americans, most recently blasting the implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal at a debate that featured audience members booing a gay active duty servicemember.

In his remarks on “The View,” Cain said that if someone showed him “the science,” he’d be open to changing his opinion. Dr. Jack Drescher, MD, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders, is willing to meet with Cain to discuss the medical aspects of the matter.

“Herman Cain’s opinion that being gay is a choice has no basis in current scientific thinking,” said Dr. Drescher, who also served as a past Chair of APA’s Committee on GLB Issues. “Not only is homosexuality ‘not a choice,’ as most efforts to try and change a person's sexual orientation fail, but some attempts to change can cause harm and damage to an individual’s well-being.”

HRC is urging its members and supporters to act now and tell Herman Cain his views are outdated and out of step with mainstream Americans. Learn more about the dangers of reparative therapy.

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