October 14th, 2010
04:43 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama: Homosexuality is not a choice

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday that he believes homosexuality is not a choice, but the result of people being born with "a certain make-up."

Asked directly if gay or transgender people have a choice or are born that way, Obama told a town-hall style event with students that he was no expert, then added: "I don't think it's a choice. I think people are born with a certain make-up."

"We're all children of God," Obama said. "We don't make determinations about who we love. That's why I think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Yes, somebody finally gets it. I have had conversations with some of my gay friends about "their choice." Everyone of them has told me this is the way they feel, they can't help it and they have known about it since they were young kids. Nobody pushed them to be gay.
    Like one of them told me would he go through all the hate and bigotry that comes his way if he wasn't gay?
    Makes sense to me.

    October 14, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Reuel Williams

    That's the same thing that some of the child molesters say about themselves and no one excuses them. All of us are born with a predisposition to do and be wrong, why do you think that you don't have to teach a child to misbehave. The fact that you may be born with a certain negative proclivity doesn't mean that you cannot change and live out the right kind of life. There is no gay gene and there is no molester gene, there is only our sin nature, and Jesus Christ died to help us overcome that.

    October 14, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Rob

    Not a choice, but he still thinks we're not worthy of having the same rights as other Americans?

    October 14, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. gt

    so gays are not normal then,,, wow,,,so if your gay , then you can ever be straight ,,,wow,,, becasue its not a choice ...wow,,, stuck in gay gear for ever,,,wow,,,,

    October 14, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. AllyUWmedSch

    that is by far the most ignorant , irrisponsible, and medically false statement that i have read in quite a while. do some research on the human brain and how it developes when it comes to sexual "dysfunctions" as well as mental education. please do not read it out of a bible. read it out of a medical study. (medical Journal and Lecture Series of the Developement of the Human Brain is a good one) published by UW medical school. you probably will disagree because a medical study doesnt have anything to do with "faith" but atleast you can decide if you are brain washed or truly ignroant.

    October 14, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. stufthis

    Can it be compared to a person being born with a right wingnut gene?

    October 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Vince S

    Reuel. It is not your right to determine what is right for me based on your religion. If you think that anyone would CHOOSE to be oppressed and persecuted, then you are WRONG. I have tried to deny who I am. That is more destructive than your idea of my life!

    October 14, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. MPeters

    And the award for the most offensive comment is presented to Reuel Williams.

    The fact that you equated being gay to child molestation makes even me, a straight man, bristle with indignation. Child molestation is a crime because someone older (and presumably wiser) is taking advantage of a minor. Someone who is gay is not taking advantage of anyone, and is socially interacting in a consensual relationship with another human being. While you are entitled to your opinion that being gay is a negative "proclivity," I doubt that your God looks very highly upon your judgment of other people being "right." I believe that Jesus also said, "Let thee who is without sin cast the first stone," and "Judge thee not, that thou be judged." Your inane blather, while protected in this country by the First Amendment, is offensive, misinformed, and quite frankly, the exact opposite of what your religion teaches people. So instead of attacking others for their life choices, why don't you go read that New Testament you clearly haven't read.

    I leave you with this parting thought, have you ever thought about what happens if there really isn't a God? Or since we are "made in his image," and clearly there are Gay people, then maybe God is gay too? I know your answer to that last part is that being gay is a sin...so focus on that first question. What if someone who is gay believes that God isn't really the real God, or that even if he is gay, that God will forgive him that "sin" regardless?

    October 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Mike PA

    Couldn't disagree with you more Reuel. Comparing consensual intercourse between 2 adults to an adult corrupting a child is despicable, and shouldn't even be thought in the 21st century. Make room for the enlightenment of the Millennials bud, because you're going to have adapt to a new era that embraces human goodness above religious dogma.

    October 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Derek Manger

    Reuel Williams... Let me just tell you a few things... I am gay, and I am a Christian. But let me just say that I did not choose to be gay, and many times during my life I have thought, "wow, if only I wasn't gay would life be just so much easier", and I have struggled with this for many years, but the truth of the matter is buddy, there is nothing I can do to change who I am. I tried being attracted to women, but it just doesnt click for me. nd from my experience, straight men and women have been more sensual than many of the homosexual people I have seen and met. P.S. Gay people and molestors have NOTHING in common with molestors, in fact, isnt it rther interesting that most of the molestors happen to be straight.

    I love myself love God and religion, follow Christ Jesus' teachings, and like The Bible says, God loves all his children. I commend President Obama for making such a progressive statement. Shame on you Reuel for continuing the bigotry and hatred that has divided our nation for years. It is people like you who must really find the light of God in your life. Live Love.

    October 14, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. walleye46

    That is obviously common sense to everyone except the Evangelical Christian RepubliKlan Right. Ask yourself this simple question. With all the hate/violence shown to gays, WHY would anyone "choose" to be gay. I have always believed that some genetic makeup has caused this to happen. And to these religious zealots, who by the way are no better than Sharia Law Arabs, I say follow the teachings of Jesus and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR instead of being hypocrits.

    October 14, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Billy C

    Sounds like he is saying its a birth defect

    October 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Chipster

    Comparing homosexuality to child molesters is ridiculous! Children are not capable of consenting to being molested. That's like saying "rapists claim to be heterosexual" to imply that all heterosexuals are rapists! Homosexuals feel an attraction to the same sex in the same way that heterosexuals feel attraction for the opposite sex. Did you choose to be heterosexual – seriously – did you ever think "well, I could enjoy sex with either but I'll choose this one?" No! You either feel the attraction or you don't, unless you are bisexual or asexual. They have a right to live their lives without being victims of prejudice from ignorant, judgmental people.

    October 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Phil

    Mr. Williams: You are a narrow minded bigot. I would tell you to keep your archaic opinions to yourself, but one of the things that makes this country great it's concept of tolerance and acceptance. Also, there's this little thing called free speech. So go ahead and shout your prehistoric opinions from the mountaintops.

    October 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. Ryan

    @Reuel Williams – Funny that Jesus never mentioned anything about homosexuals. He did say a lot about loving thy neighbor, judge not lest ye be judged, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, etc. Funny how people seem to ignore the underlying message in 99% of the Bible and focus on that one line that was most likely the personal feelings of the person writing it. Until someone shows me proof that the Bible was cast down from Heaven to everyone here on Earth, I'm going to take it for what it is – a storybook written by man with human biases throughout.

    October 14, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Mike

    Reuel, child molesters hurt other people because of their actions. How does a person being attracted to someone of the same gender hurt other people? And regarding people choosing to do right over wrong, when did you choose to practice the heterosexual lifestyle?

    October 14, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Marcus in Greensboro, NC

    Everyone knows it's not a choice, including these religious idiots. In the Bible, the act is the issue not the desire. I never chose to be homosexual. I knew I was this person around puberty, and I always had admiration for women, but never attraction. A sin is a sin, and I never understood why this issue seems to be so controversial. Eating shrimp is a sin, and an abomination, but I never saw laws against eating shrimp.

    October 14, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Patti in Dallas

    Reuel Williams – So, assuming you are hetersoexual, when exactly did you decide to be heterosexual?

    October 14, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Tom S.

    @ Reuel Williams, YOU MORON! Child molesting is a crime. It hurts our most volunerable people. Homosexuality is NOT a crime. You know that you feel attracted to the opposite sex naturally, why then do you have a hard time believing that others can't naturally feel attracted to someone of the same sex???

    The only true crime here is religion and fanatics like you believing that you are superior to others and only those who believe the same way can be correct. Isn't this a crime against God? Whatever happened to acceptance and forgiveness in religion?

    October 14, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. stufit

    There are such distinct differences between child molesters and homosexuals, but really neither probably has a choice. Like Mike@ said, it is just that child molesters hurt people, where gay is more of a lifestyle that you feel the most comfortable and complete in .

    October 14, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. anagram_kid

    Reuel William,
    Child molestation, like rape is more about power than sex. And to label homosexuality as a negative proclivity is truly offensive. Another hateful ‘Christian’...

    October 14, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Four and The Door

    Studies show that 65% of gays are born that way. The other 35%? I guess they just get sucked into it.
    But seriously, I agree with Obama. This is certainly nothing I can identify with, but still nothing I should judge.

    October 14, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. vic nashville tn

    Homosexuality is not a birth defect

    Real birth defect is people turn of their brain bully others in the name of religion, culture , tradition

    October 14, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. mario

    thanks mr prez for speaking the truth. the only choices gays/lesbians made regarding their sexuality is to either remain in the closet or come out!

    October 14, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. RaveDave

    Is being left-handed a choice? Are people born left-handed, or is that determined in early childhood? Who cares? The point is that left-handed adults can't change their mind and become right-handed. The clay has hardened. If you try to re-shape it, the clay will break.

    October 14, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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