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.