Pawlenty punts on homosexuality
July 10th, 2011
02:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Pawlenty punts on homosexuality

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Sunday he remained uncertain over whether homosexuality is biological or a choice.

“As I understand the science, there’s no current conclusion that it’s genetic,” Pawlenty said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Saying he preferred to “defer to the scientists” about the issue, the former Minnesota governor said it was unclear if being gay or lesbian was a lifestyle choice.

“There’s no scientific conclusion that it's genetic. We don't know that. So, we don't know to what extent it's behavioral,” Pawlenty said. “That's something that has been debated by scientists for a long time.”

He used the questioning as an opportunity to again describe his views opposing the legalization of gay marriage.

“I'm a supporter of traditional marriage between a man and a woman,” Pawlenty said. “I have not supported the issues of allowing gay couples to have the same benefits in public employment as traditional couples.”


Filed under: 2012 • Gay rights • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Robert Constant

    It is a matter of record that homosexuality occurs in many different species, even birds. The governor has not done his homework on the science in question. His statement is a cop out based on the "non science" science of the religious right who think the earth came into existance 5 or 6 thousand years ago. This puts him in the same category as Palin believing that the Battle of Concord Bridge was fought in New Hampshire.

    July 10, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Sgt Schultz

    Wow here we go again with the wedge issue distractions about philosophy, religion, sexuality...all meaningless topics meant to keep people distracted and kept busy with endless debates that solves nothing. These Culture War / Special Interest causes really have no reason being raised in the Federal Government.

    July 10, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. roro

    When your child shows homosexual tendencies starting in pre-school you can be certain that this was not a choice. As an educator I've seen this time and time again. No one in their right minds would choose to be someone hated by so many, left to die on a post, or beaten to death by bigots. They are what they are, and everyone needs to understand and accept this.

    July 10, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Kelly

    It was actually not a punt at all...if I recall he said, he does not support equality in benefits for same sex couples in the public sector. That seems pretty biased to me.

    July 10, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. New Moon Rising

    Let's see ... he defers to the scientists ... but just to be on the sfae side, he stil opposes treating them equally ... Tis better to Discriminate until you have all 'right' facts ... what a shame these ' grown adults' who know in their hearts beyond a shadow of a doubt , that A certain percentage of humanity will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be gay ... it's simply the way God wants it ... I would like to ask Pawlenty if he thinks his own children should be subjected to his discriminatory thinking . .

    July 10, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    How about just respecting their Civil and Constitutional Rights instead of finding ways to justify an individuals existence and leave God's work to God.

    July 10, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. rs

    Pawlenty is a Republican. Hence, he does not believe in, or have an interest in Science.

    July 10, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Sanandra

    Oh please. What person would "choose" to live a life of being discriminated against; being made fun of; being ostracized by others; being afraid for your safety; and not having some of the same civil rights as heterosexuals? Sometimes I really wish that the people who are so homophobic & self righteous would have a homosexual child so that they could see first hand that their child didn't "choose" to be that way. I work with high school aged young people, and over the years I have been able to identify in my mind many many kids that I thought were gay but who were trying to live a straight lifestyle in order to avoid being ostracized. Based on those who later came out, my guesstimation rates are pretty spot on.

    July 10, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Michael

    So, another religious zealot politician or at least a politician that is pandering to the religious zealots "defers to the scientists" about homosexuality, but believes in the fairy tale misogynistic god in spite of the science on evolution and the history of the world.

    July 10, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Chad in Boston

    Just bow out of the race already Tim. 2012 is Romney's time.

    July 10, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Not Fat

    We do know that being a Republican bigot is a choice.

    July 10, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Any thing for a buck - time to end GOPorate greed.

    Paw-lease, he's just trying to stradle the line between being acceptable to the minions of fox followers who are dumbed down when he knows he can't win a GOP primary by understanding or "believing" in science.... or history..........or reality.

    July 10, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. carrotroot

    It doesn't matter to Tim because at the end of the day he supports discriminatory policies against people based on their sexual orientation. Lincoln must be rolling in his grave.

    July 10, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Stephen in Bedford, Texas

    People are the way they are, that just the way it is. A straight person cannot just change their orientation no more than a homosexual individual can become straight. Why is that so hard for homophobes to understand?

    July 10, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. Eric

    His fundamental understanding of the word 'behavioral' is flawed. Behavioral doesn't dictate the presence of choice. Environmental factors in a young person's life can very well impact young behavior and modify concepts of sexuality, leading to someone becoming gay, bisexual, etc. He'd be hard-pressed to find someone who 'chooses to be gay'.

    July 10, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. A Realist

    So Pawlenty it's possible that gays choose to be gay but he'll defer to whatever the scientists say, is that his position?

    Let me ask him this then:

    1.) If science says global warming is real, will you support efforts to control greenhouse gases? Will you favor renewable energy over fossil fuels?

    2.) If science says that dinosaur fossils are millions of years old, will you reject "intelligent design / creationist theories" that say the book of Genesis in the bible is a true and literal account of how the world began - you know like 6,000 years ago?

    This is why Pawlenty isn't Presidential material. He didn't have the good sense to say that being gay is not a choice.

    What man, in his right mind, would choose Kris Humprehies over Kim Kardashian? [For you Kim haters, sorry, couldn't think of another female with a banging body off the top of my head, but you guys get my point.]

    July 10, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. SecedingfromTexas

    In football, a "fake punt is often used in a desperate situation". His is a desperate situation if I ever saw one.
    Wonder how Mr Hockey will handle Mr. "I don't have any one dollar bills" Romeny and Mrs. "I had five children and raised 23 foster kids" Bachmann at the next debate. I bet he punts and runs.

    July 10, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. todd

    Religion is a choice,; therefore, there should be no religious protections of any kind.

    July 10, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. dalis

    I don't understand why supporting marriage between men and women precludes denying marriage to g@-y people. Can someone explain this? They're not mutually exclusive. If anything, I think a strong g@-y marriage in-sti-tu-tion should strengthen marriage for straight people too. The rest of the comments are murky. Ok, so either he thinks g@-y people have a behavior problem, and he thinks they should be denied benefits for it, or he thinks they have a predisposition toward same-s 3-x attraction, and he thinks they should be denied benefits for it. Does he want to repeal the ADA too?

    July 10, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. DanW

    So if sexual preference is biological, would Pawlentry change his position on marriage? He must have had a reason for looking into the science of sexual preference. Why? What different decisions would he make based on clear scientific evidence?

    July 10, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. bobden

    Hard to believe that the good people of Minnesota would elect a twit like t-paw.

    July 10, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. enough

    pawlenty, you are a joke too, I have more experience in my little finger than you in your whole time, to bring America back its going to take an innovator and pawlenty, you are not one, you are like the rest and like obama, all SMOKE BLOWERS with loose skirts.

    July 10, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Angy

    he will not take a position on anything.so he goes with the science thing. come weeny. pawlenty is a completely spineless weeny! he wouldn't even confront romeny during that repug debate. he is a typical weeny. he wll attack a weaker weeny, big mouth bachmman. I hope they do pick one of these losers to run against President Obama. It will allow him to get on with the business of trying to fix this country, even those people think it should be done by now. He has tons of waste to clear from the bush camp (remember 8 years of waste & only working for the rich).

    July 10, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. B

    Hey, Separation of Church and State- What don’t you people understand about that ?

    These idiots are living in the past and have no right to be given leadership roles in these times!

    Vote these irrelevant has-beens out and allow someone with an Open mind to take their place.

    July 10, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. Indy

    Pawlenty has a man crush on Romney so he should know the right answer ! His man crush prevented him from standing up to Romney and he is going after Bachmann but still cant stand up to Romney, who would be a very easy target and he could go a long way going after Romneys record but his man crush prevents him from going after Mitts.

    July 10, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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