Gay Patriot Header Image

Does Ken Buck Really Believe Being Gay is a Choice?

When yesterday, in the “Meet the Press” debate between the two major party candidates vying to represent Colorado in the United States Senate, Republican candidate Ken Buck was asked “by host David Gregory to elaborate on a statement he made in an earlier debate about gays in the military,” he should not have entered the fray on whether or not being gay in a choice.

But, he did and he put his foot into it.  He said it was a choice, adding

“I think that birth has an influence…like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically, you have a choice.”

Speaking to reporters after the debate, Buck sought to clarify his comments.

“I am not a biologist and I haven’t studied the issue, but that’s my opinion,” Buck said. “I wasn’t talking about being gay as a disease. I don’t think that at all and I hope that no one would be that insensitive to try to draw that…I certainly didn’t mean it that way.”

Well, we do have a choice in determining how we act on our emotional and sexual attraction to members of our own sex, but we don’t have a choice in feeling that attraction.

In answering the question, he should have said simply said such issue should not be a matter of federal concern.  But, alas he did not.

It it too soon to tell whether or not this comment will hurt him, but it certainly won’t help him win the votes of fiscally conservative/socially liberal voters in the Denver suburbs — where this race may be decided.  Most such folk believe the state should leave gay people alone.  But, if his opponent dwells on the issue, people will wonder why he’s focusing on his opponent’s bizarre statement rather than the fiscal problems facing the federal government.

(To Buck’s credit, at least he did not bring up the issue.  To his discredit, he, as one blogger put it, appeared to “to delve into the bizarre world of social conservatism’s obsession with homosexuality“.  Not sure that explanation is exactly right, but gets to the point that his answer sounded like a pander to social conservatives.)

Buck should remain true to the libertarian message that has been central to his appeal — that government has grown too big for its proverbial britches.  At that means leaving gay people alone.  U.S. Senators now need concern themselves with holding the line on federal spending — and leaving it to others more qualified than themselves (and whose jobs are more suited to the task) to consider the factors determining one’s sexuality.

Share

28 Comments

  1. Dan, I think, however inarticulately he said it, that was his point.

    Like Alcoholism (which runs in my family) there may be a latent proclivity towards being attracted to the same sex. Also like alcoholism, no one is forcing you to pick up the bottle/have sex.

    Same thing holds true for heterosexuality. I like women. Gods I love the female form. It doesn’t mean I act on every impulse to ‘tap that’ even when the woman is ready, able, and rarin’ to go.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 18, 2010 @ 6:44 am - October 18, 2010

  2. Funny, this didn’t really bother me. I don’t know if the man is Catholic, but I took his answer to be an inarticulate expression of the Church’s teaching which I disagree with but really don’t care if someone holds that belief. How he intends to vote on DADT repeal is important to me. What the man waxes philisophically on homosexuality really isn’t a big deal. As long as he isn’t making as an ass of himself frequently like DeMint, I could care less.

    Comment by John — October 18, 2010 @ 7:52 am - October 18, 2010

  3. When I run into straight men who still think being gay is a choice, I ask them to tell me about when they decided to like women. After all, if I got to make a choice then surely so did they.

    Comment by Andcar — October 18, 2010 @ 8:21 am - October 18, 2010

  4. Everything that we as humans do is a choice on some level… But the difference is Instinct vs. Will.

    Human instinct is different for everyone, for some the instinct is to have sex, to eat, to fight, or not to do any of these things. And human will lets us decided if we act on it or not.

    We choose to act on our individual instincts. However we do not choose our instincts. That would be like choosing which particle of air we breath.

    I agree his comments were inarticulate and he should have avoided this landmine, but either his will overrode his instinct or visa versa.

    Comment by Stone K — October 18, 2010 @ 9:01 am - October 18, 2010

  5. 1. Is it possible that not everybody is gay for the same reason?

    2. If sexual orientation is morally neutral, why would it matter if it were a choice?

    Comment by V the K — October 18, 2010 @ 9:18 am - October 18, 2010

  6. I agree, stick to the “principles of the constitution”. Even Valerie Jarrett thinks we care about her opinion on “gayness”

    http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/10/16/even-untouchable-valerie-is-feeling-the-pc-heat/

    Whether its a choice or not do we not have the right to our life and liberty.

    Comment by Jay — October 18, 2010 @ 9:46 am - October 18, 2010

  7. Is it possible that not everybody is gay for the same reason?

    Yes. Of course logically then this would also apply for straights as well.

    If sexual orientation is morally neutral, why would it matter if it were a choice?

    If having a homosexual orientation is morally neutral, than no it wouldn’t matter assuming choosing an orientation were even possible. However, for those who also believe that such an orientation is “intrinsically disordered” to deliberately choose this would have to immoral. This is all even before we get to any behavior related to that orientation.

    Comment by John — October 18, 2010 @ 10:49 am - October 18, 2010

  8. Political Campaign 101 would have helped Mr Buck with this answer. His staff and consultants should have long ago fashioned a coherent, fair answer for the candidate. Failure on their part and his.

    Does anyone in politics today believe they won’t be asked about the nature of gay sexuality and its impact on society and policy? If they exist, they have -0- business running for office; Mr Buck should have had a much better answer ‘waiting in the can.

    I agree with VdaK’s implied assertion –could there be more than a single way to being gay? Yep… and when someone says “It’s a choice”, I’m not threatened… I usually agree with them and ask “So what?” I also choose to be a Catholic. It doesn’t diminish my rights. I also choose to be GOPer. It doesn’t diminish my rights. I also choose to be a Wolverine –ok, in college football, that destroys any rights I have to the pursuit of happiness… but still. Women, blacks or gays shouldn’t have any greater or lesser access to “rights” than white gay males who pray on Sunday for deliverance from Rich Rodriguez.

    ‘s

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 18, 2010 @ 10:50 am - October 18, 2010

  9. When I run into straight men who still think being gay is a choice, I ask them to tell me about when they decided to like women. After all, if I got to make a choice then surely so did they.

    I carry no torch for Buck and haven’t followed the Colorado race all that much, so one can choose to make this an issue or not in deciding whether to vote for him all they like. Having said that, while initially it appeared his comments were along the lines you imply here upon further reflection I do think he meant to say that the orientation isn’t chosen but homosexual relations are. Whatever the merits or lack thereof for this morality of this view it is standard Catholic teaching. It also makes sense in a way because gay or straight we DO choose whether to have relations with someone or not, while the orientation isn’t something of conscious choice. That being said, for those who take the stupid line that gays choose their orientation along with any homosexual relations I prefer to ask your question a bit differently: look them straight in the eye and ask them how long they thought about penis before they decided against it and went with the boobies instead. Also, is there a possibility they may change their minds later on and is this a worry for them?

    Arguing over the morality of homosexual relations is one thing, to actually place blame on someone for being oriented gay I find to be morally reprehensible.

    Comment by John — October 18, 2010 @ 10:57 am - October 18, 2010

  10. People are having a violent agreement. Orientation isn’t a choice. Behavior and culture, are choices. All that remains is to define (or debate) what is good behavior.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 18, 2010 @ 11:19 am - October 18, 2010

  11. (and good culture)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 18, 2010 @ 11:19 am - October 18, 2010

  12. It never amazes me the ignorance that slips out
    of the well educated men during election times!

    You know, it wasn’t all that long ago,
    that there was a disease and diagnosis, later
    taken out of the medical journals…probably
    because too many suffered from it….and
    no pharmaceutical company could create a
    magic pill for it….

    it was called: Passive-aggressive Behavior
    take a peek at the causes;
    Passive aggressive disorder may stem from a specific childhood stimulus[5] (e.g., alcohol/drug addicted parents) in an environment where it was not safe to express frustration or anger. Families in which the honest expression of feelings is forbidden tend to teach children to repress and deny their feelings and to use other channels to express their frustration.

    Children who sugarcoat their hostility do not grow beyond it. Never developing better coping strategies or skills for self-expression, they can become adults who, beneath the seductive veneer, harbor vindictive intent.[6] Martin Kantor suggests three areas that contribute to passive-aggressive anger in individuals: conflicts about dependency, control, and competition.[7]
    [edit] Treatment

    What caught my eye about Ken Buck was not just
    his ignorance but his vindictive nature.

    I found his comment deplorable!

    Comment by K.Cook — October 18, 2010 @ 11:43 am - October 18, 2010

  13. to K Cook…
    “You know, it wasn’t all that long ago,
    that there was a disease and diagnosis, later
    taken out of the medical journals…probably
    because too many suffered from it….and
    no pharmaceutical company could create a
    magic pill for it….

    it was called: Homosexuality…”

    Just sayin’ I found your post funny, in a kind of pathetic way.

    What was ‘passive agressive’ about Buck’s words?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 18, 2010 @ 11:47 am - October 18, 2010

  14. Listen up…The Whole World Is Queer Except Thee And Me And Even Thee Is A little Queer!

    Comment by Samantha — October 18, 2010 @ 11:58 am - October 18, 2010

  15. Listen up…The Whole World Is Queer Except Thee And Me And Even Thee Is A little Queer!

    I’ve been awake too long. Is that a fancy way of saying “I’m not gay, but my boyfriend is”?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 18, 2010 @ 1:03 pm - October 18, 2010

  16. Think its more of him comparing it to alcoholism than saying its a choice. He picked something with an obviously negative connotation, and there is no way around it. A lot of things run in families, like hair color and eye colors, he didn’t have to pick that one.

    Comment by darkeyedresolve — October 18, 2010 @ 1:40 pm - October 18, 2010

  17. der,

    You can’t ‘act’ on eye color or hair colour though.

    The closest ‘neutral’ analouge I can think if is being left handed. You can ‘train’ a lefty to use his right hand primarily, but the impulses are still there.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 18, 2010 @ 1:45 pm - October 18, 2010

  18. You can ‘train’ a lefty to use his right hand primarily, but the impulses are still there.

    As a southpaw myself, let’s just say they tried really hard in elementary school to get me to switch and failed spectacularly. I couldn’t write with my right hand no matter how many times they swatted my left. :)

    Comment by John — October 18, 2010 @ 1:56 pm - October 18, 2010

  19. My dad’s a ‘broken lefty’ I, thank the Divine, didn’t have to go through that.

    In his case it saved his life when he had a stroke (Our brains seem to be more diffuse and we recover faster, but the stroke’s more of a ‘shotgun’ effect. Docs said that the stroke should have done enough damage there to kill him, instead it’s like he got hit by a scattergun).

    On topic though, it seems to be a good analogy. You can train some people to like the other sex, react accordingly etc (Exodus, love ‘em or hate ‘em, is an example) but they’ll still default to their base mode under pressure.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 18, 2010 @ 2:12 pm - October 18, 2010

  20. I don’t consider this an issue; it’s a sideshow.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — October 18, 2010 @ 3:14 pm - October 18, 2010

  21. I have somewhat informally found myself to be the local Denver spokesman for gay Republicans, and the point I try to make is this: Ken’s belief that homosexuality is a choice is disappointing, and doesn’t comport with my own experience, but he nonetheless broadly represents my positions on the issues of greatest import to me, economy and national security, and so I and many others are not wavering in our support of Ken. Even so, the comparison of homosexuality to alcoholism was a hasty and poor choice of words, that I’m sure Ken regrets. I never had any illusions that he would share my views on gay rights issues, views that are somewhat heterodox in the Republican Party, and I welcome any opportunity Mr. Buck would provide to chat with him about such issues, but the truth is for some on-the-fence voters these kinds of comments will provide justification to support the incumbent Sen. Bennet, an unfortunate consequence.

    Comment by Alex in Denver — October 18, 2010 @ 4:52 pm - October 18, 2010

  22. Every act is a choice. Every personality is a creation of the individual.

    Comment by gastorgrab — October 18, 2010 @ 9:17 pm - October 18, 2010

  23. he should have said simply said such issue should not be a matter of federal concern.

    The trouble with that, Dan, is that how one views homosexuality affects how one views (and would vote on as a member of Congress) issues like the recognition of homosexual couples for immigration and the military ban (DADT), both of which are already currently discussed matters of federal concern.

    When dealing with the phenomenon of homosexuality in total, the only sensible approach is to separate out what is voluntary from what is not. Clearly that is what Buck was attempting to do, however ineloquent you find his phraseology.

    The problem started with David Gregory’s inexact use of language in questioning his guest. The fuzzy use of language is common in everday speech (and even in more exacting endeavors like science and law), however he should try to do better. The phrase “being gay” is hopelessly ambiguous. It can refer to either one’s psychology or one’s sexual behavior. (Buck, of course, erred by not correcting Gregory’s oversight.)

    The constant nitpicking of politicians — and everyone else in the public eye — over the way they state things is a very bad aspect of modern culture. You shouldn’t feed it, Dan.

    it certainly won’t help him win the votes of fiscally conservative/socially liberal voters

    Then socially liberal voters, whether fiscally conservative or not, are pansies. People need to concern themselves with how their representatives will vote on matters of public concern; not fret over how they differ from them on trivial matters of opinion.

    Again, this is a trend you shouldn’t support by blogging about how a man “put his foot into it” simply by telling the truth (as you admit).

    Comment by Classical Liberal Dave — October 18, 2010 @ 11:47 pm - October 18, 2010

  24. The government should leave homosexuals alone? Maybe it would/could if gays would leave the government/society alone. But they won’t. They’re constantly demanding that government/society approve of their sexual behavior. And when social conservatives react to gays’ aggressive demands we’re accused of being “obsessed” with homosexuality. That accusation says more about the accusers’ hatred of socons than it does about socons.

    Message to gays: if you want to be left alone then leave the rest of us alone. Stop shoving your bedroom into our faces. Stop using the schools to turn our children against our values. Stop smearing as “bigots” those who don’t/won’t pay homage to your libido. Stop doing these things and the rest of us will gladly leave you alone. Continue doing these things and expect to be plagued by the reaction of “the rest of us” who have every right to defend and extend our beliefs.

    Comment by Seane-Anna — October 18, 2010 @ 11:52 pm - October 18, 2010

  25. Suddenly we live in a country where conservative Republicans running for office have to be very careful what they say about homosexuality and how they say it. That’s progress! On another point brought up, I DO care how he feels about gay marriage, DADT, DOMA, etc. but I also care how the Democrat, who is on my side on those issues, feels about capitalism, taxes, crime, capital punishment, abortion, Obamascare, etc. etc. etc.

    Comment by Eddie — October 19, 2010 @ 12:19 am - October 19, 2010

  26. Maybe someday, America will have a politician who’s honest enough to say, “Well, I tend to see homosexuality as a choice, but that’s only because I’m a bisexual man who chooses to be faithfully married to my wife, and thus I try to avoid fantasizing about other men, just as I avoid fantasizing about women other than my wife. But I guess if I were totally heterosexual, or for that matter totally homosexual, I’d think it was very strange to look at sexual orientation as a choice.”

    But that day is not yet at hand.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — October 19, 2010 @ 2:22 am - October 19, 2010

  27. Bravo Throbert

    Comment by rusty — October 19, 2010 @ 8:27 am - October 19, 2010

  28. Awww, looks like K Cook didn’t want to stick around.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 19, 2010 @ 1:37 pm - October 19, 2010

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.