The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the following statement after CNN's Dana Bash reported this morning that Gov. Scott Walker said he doesn't know whether being LGBT is a choice or not.
"It's appalling that a candidate for president in the year 2015 could botch such a fundamental question. Of course it isn't a choice. If it was, Scott Walker would be able to tell us when he chose to be straight," said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs for the Human Rights Campaign.
Gallup reported in May that 55 percent of Americans believe sexual orientation is determined at birth.
Walker's comments strengthen the hand of advocates for so-called “conversion therapy,” who believe sexual orientation can be changed. Such work is based on the false claim that being LGBT is a mental illness that should be cured. Unfortunately, young LGBT people may be coerced and subjected to these harmful practices, which can result in negative outcomes such as depression, substance abuse, and suicidality. Conversion therapy has been denounced by every major medical and mental health association, including the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association. California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have passed laws to prevent licensed providers from offering conversion therapy to minors.
This is the second time in a week Walker has opposed basic concepts of equality for the LGBT community, first saying that the Boy Scouts of America's ban on LGB people serving as volunteers was "fine." Walker reiterated that he thought the policy was "fine" in today's CNN report, and again refused to apologize for his position, saying that the ultimate determination should be up to BSA.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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