Richardson Clarifies Queer “Choice” of Words

Within seconds of getting back from the forum, we received the following note from Bill Richardson, who seemed to intimate that homosexuality is a choice:

Let me be clear — I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice. But I’m not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law. That is what I believe, that is what I have spent my career fighting for. I ask that people look at my record and my actions and they will see I have been a true supporter of the LGBT community.

Hmmm, still sounds a bit wishy-washy to us. We’ll be sure to get more answers when we interview him later today. Keep those peepers peeled, readers…

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #politics #billrichardson #election'08 stories and more


  • Bryan

    Bad move. I heard him say that and i cringed in my seat. Even Melissa said “no, i don’t think you understand the question, (dumbass).” I would have issued a release saying “I misunderstood the question to mean ‘is it an acceptable choice?'” something like that. Oh well. Is it too early to be so over the primaries yet?

  • hephaestion

    I’m afraid it’s too late. Richardson blew it with that completely fumbling & unprepared performance Thursday night. His campaign might as well close up ship now.

    Best he can hope for now is that if he goes away a while, he might be forgotten, and then become a candidate for Vice President.

  • Jack Jett

    I am with you hepha….My partner and I were cringing while watching. It reminded me of when I would do stand up and I would be bombing and yet knew I had 5 minutes to go.

    This guy just kepts sinking and sinking. If I were from New Mexico, I might be a tad upset. Not only about the gay issue, just the fact that he reminded me of a hispanic version of George Bush.

    asta la vista baby.

    jack jett

  • Tavia

    The attacks on Bill Richardson for his answer make no sense to me. I don’t need a political leader who knows (or cares) whether my being gay is a choice or something I’m born as. I need a political leader who will focus on equality, and not, as Obama rightly put it, semantics. Richardson clearly has.

    There was a huge shift in this debate that those who are carping about marriage seems to have missed: all the candidates now support civil unions with complete federal benefits. That is, they support everything but granting the semantic word ‘marriage.’ Sure, their reasons for resisting that word are a capitulation to homophobia, but there are gradations of wrong here. We don’t need to eliminate homophobia to get equal rights.

    To call civil unions ‘separate but equal’ is to get the historical comparison entirely wrong. The point of Jim Crow was that it was separate and UNequal. That is what DOMA represents, and the huge shift last night was that all the Democrats (and none of the Republicans) are now committed to ending it.

  • Matt

    It’s sad: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a politician as uncomfortable as Richardson was last night (OK, maybe Ross Perot’s running mate when he wandered away from the lectern during the VP debates). The guy clearly didn’t want to be at that forum, didn’t have a clue about how to deal with GLBT issues. His basic message, I think, was about the need to be pragmatic and focus on the politically possible (vs Kucinich’s preposterous promises that the world would change on day 1 of a hobbit presidency), and that’s OK; he just bungled it so badly. I’d love to think that a LOGO/HRC forum could be so persuasive as to force him outof the race, but probably not. If he can’t handle these basic issues, though, what CAN he do?

  • Matt

    Oh, and Tavia makes some excellent points, and I totally agree. My problem with Richardson was his inability to communicate effectively and connect with his audience (vs., say, Hillary, who did both, and did well even though she’s not on the marriage bandwagon either)

  • Ash

    He was the worst of them all. I watched the “forum” at a lezzie bar in Brooklyn and everyone groaned at Richardson’s remarks. Who are his advisors??? Wouldn’t you do your research before such a big event? Saying homosexuality is a choice is, like, Offending Gays 101.

    I just wanted to cuddle Kucinich though. What a sweet little gnome of a man wrapped up in a sunshine-filled ball of bunny rabbits.

  • Dawster

    he was SOOO not worth the time… from a gay or straight standpoint.

    i think he had been drinking…

  • petertimmerman

    Why do so many gay people get angry when sexual orientation is called a choice? And why do they insist they are born like that? I find it incredibly silly and annoying. Although it should be a scientific issue, for many gays it’s just a dogmatic point (as it is for the christianists who argue gay is lifestyle, obviously). No one is born gay, and no one chooses to be gay – you can find that much in any psychology introduction. The nice thing about Richardson’s point is, it appears to me, that even if it would be a choice, he wouldn’t have a problem with it! And why should one? I have the terrible feeling that many gays just don’t want to be held responsible for their sexuality… Like if it would be ‘wrong’ to sleep with your own sex if your biology would not have determined you to do so.

  • Dawster

    because, as Melissa E. said, if you don’t believe that we were born gay and had no choice in the matter – than there is no way to fight for complete civil and equal rights.

    to fight for choice… freedom of choice, having a decision and choosing one path or another is one fight.

    but this was another, because i had no choice in the matter. try as i may, women are NOT for me. should i be punished because of something i couldn’t help? yes or no?

    should blacks be punished for being black or women be punished for being women? did they have a choice or were they born that way? we all have SOME control over how we act (stereotypical or not) but not over who we are.

    when others (people outside the gay community) can understand that this was not a choice, then it is easier to get equal rights.

    that’s why it’s depressing to hear that sexual orientation is called a “choice”… because it means we’re not there yet.

Comments are closed.