Scott Walker doesn’t “have an opinion” on whether being gay is a choice

On Sunday, Scott Walker turned another straightforward question into advanced calculus when CNN’s Dana Bash asked him if he thought being gay is a choice.

The question came in light of Walker’s disagreement with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to lift its ban on openly gay scout leaders on the grounds that the ban “protected children.” Faced with predictable backlash over the implication that openly gay men are a danger to children, Walker issued a patently absurd clarification claiming that he didn’t mean “protected children” as in “kept gay men from molesting children;” he meant it as in “shielded children from the debate about whether the ban was a good idea.”

Right.

In any case, here’s the exchange between Bash and Walker on whether being gay is a choice:

Bash: Do you think that being gay is a choice?

Walker: Oh, I mean I think — that’s not even an issue for me to be involved in. The bottom line is, I’m going to stand up and work hard for every American regardless of who they are, no matter where they come from, no matter what their background. I’m going to fight for people whether they vote for me or not.

Bash: On behalf of people to do that properly you have to understand or at least have an opinion on who they are and where they’re coming from.

Walker: But again, I think — no, I don’t have an opinion on every single issue out there. I mean to me that’s — I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that question. So, I’m saying I don’t know what the answer to that is. And I’m going to spend my time focused on things that I do know and I can work on.

As David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement was quick to point out, Scott Walker has a lesbian cousin. If he isn’t sure whether being gay is a choice, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to ask her. Of course, this is the same cousin whose wedding Walker didn’t attend (although he did show up for the reception), so it appears as though Walker’s lack of exposure to and knowledge of LGBT people and their identities is, well, his own personal choice.

But Walker’s shoulder-shrugging on the basic premise of the question is far from the only thing wrong with his answer — and the question itself. Walker framed the nature of same-sex attraction as “an issue” on which he doesn’t have an “opinion,” when in fact it isn’t an issue up for debate. As John Oliver would say, you don’t ask people’s opinions about a fact. Dana Bash certainly knows this, meaning that the only reason she asked Walker the question was the (likely) possibility of him getting it wrong.

Scott Walker, via DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Scott Walker, via DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Second, Walker claimed that he’s “going to stand up and work hard for every American regardless of who they are, no matter where they come from, no matter what their background,” when his positions with respect to the LGBT community suggest the exact opposite. Walker, over the objections of his wife and children, supports a constitutional amendment that would allow states to ban same-sex marriage. If he’s at least open to the possibility that being sexual orientation isn’t a choice, which would make same-sex marriage a fundamental right, why would he support allowing states to ban it?

Third, Walker is running for President of the United States. He has shown that he is more than willing to fill the role of decider in chief on issues on which he knows absolutely nothing, like the recently-announced Iran deal. Why should he get to give himself a pass on sexual orientation and gender identity, which will continue to have major policy implications into the next presidential term and beyond?

As President, you don’t always get to “spend [your] time focused on things that [you] do know and [you] can work on.” If you don’t know enough about an issue at hand, you talk to people who do and you read the hell up in order to make an informed decision.

If Scott Walker can’t get that process right on a question as simple and as settled as whether being gay is a choice, how is he supposed to get it right on anything else?


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • ammy.toilor

    XFCGHJK

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  • Maziever
  • sp

    This loser doesn’t have an opinion on whether being gay is a choice, but he is outspoken about taking away the rights of gay people. Who would vote for this dope?

  • centurion2065

    You’re simply wrong about homosexuality. One clearly does not choose whom they are sexually attracted to. That’s pretty damn obvious. The only choice is whether one acts on those innate attractions.

  • DoverBill

    This derp evidently doesn’t have an onion on damn near anything.

    Just what we need in the white House?

  • 2karmanot

    The reasoned bigot uses logic to obfuscate truth with a mishmash of half-truths, facts, untruths and opinions to create what appears to be a logical conclusion. Libertarians are particularly prone to such footwork in creating seemingly intellectual paradigms. Some are crude, like the above rubbish, others like Aquinas’ proof of the existence of a magical sky gawd are more eloquent. Both are ridiculous exercises in sophistry. The irony lost on such gimmickry is that I have always said: “Damn right, I choose to be Gay, it’s my true nature. “You were saying?”

  • PattyJM

    Art, I will confine this to the transsexual part of your post.

    DNA, by itself is neither male nor female. It is just a string of genes. Chromosomes are what you mean. XX or XY.

    Those making the DNA argument against transsexual people are actually right. Caitlyn will go to her grave with XY chromosomes in her cells – as will I.

    But what of it? Have you ever had a chromosome test? Do you know what chromosomes your mail carrier has? The guy in the next cube at work? How about the woman who comes around to read your electric meter?

    The answer, of course is no, you don’t. And you have no way of knowing anyone’s chromosome configuration without a medical test.

    What you, I, and everyone else in the world do is to make an assessment based on external evidence. When you meet someone you judge the person’s gender based on externals. If someone has hair styled in a feminine way, has smooth skin, and is wearing women’s clothing you will automatically relate to that person as a woman. Conversely, someone with broad shoulders, noticeable facial hair, and wearing typically masculine clothing you will see the person as a man.

    And that is all that transsexual people do. We change our exteriors to match our inside gender identity so that we can function as our desired gender in society.

    Is that a choice? Yes, but it’s a choice between being comfortable in our own existence or not. Being able to live a comfortable and fulfilling an existence as opposed to living with longing and discomfort. For a transgender person that mismatch typically leads to depression and unfortunately, too frequently, suicide.

    You say that Jenner _chose_ to present as a woman as if it were a matter of deciding between having bacon and eggs for breakfast rather than French toast. When you describe Caitlyn’s transition as a choice you trivialize what is involved.

    One last point. Why do you feel that her transition has anything at all to do with you? To put it bluntly, her transition is a personal matter and of no concern of yours.

  • 2karmanot

    Veeery interesting Boris, but I never serve turkey or play Scrabble at the breakfast table.

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  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Where did you get your medical degree?

  • Yes…

    Jon,

    This is the first time I have posted here, so I’ll preface my comment with this, the tone in which I am writing is the same tone as if we were sitting at a kitchen table having a cup of coffee or orange juice, having a point-counterpoint conversation.

    In your last sentence, “…as simple and as settled…whether being gay is a choice,” is not debatable from the perspective of “being.” However, your choice of sentence construction, “… whether…choice…” definitely is debatable from the perspective of “dong” what homosexuals or heterosexuals “do” when in love or lust.

    >> “If Scott Walker can’t get that process right on a question as simple and
    as settled as whether being gay is a choice, how is he supposed to get
    it right on anything else?”

    Jon, here we have agreement.

    It seems that straight thinker and straight talker Gov. Scott Walker has not thought about “being” and “doing” and “choice.”

    “Being” homosexual, aka “gay”, is as much of a choice as “being” heterosexual (The “straight” word is an irrelevant and meaningless designation, unless the purpose by the user is to denigrate persons who are not heterosexual).

    “Being” male or “being” female is not a choice.
    “Being” that is only enabled by DNA is not a choice.

    There is no DNA for “choice.”
    There is no DNA for “doing.”

    There is only DNA for “being” male or female.
    There is no DNA for “being” heterosexual or homosexual.

    Being your DNA is not a choice.
    Doing contrary to your DNA is a choice.

    “Being” bisexual is definitely a choice.

    Doing what bisexuals “do” sexually, whether in “love” or in “lust,” is definitely a choice.
    Doing what bisexuals “do” is not a “choice” that is enabled by DNA.

    “Being” heterosexual, a “being” which is revealed by “doing,” is a choice.
    “Being” homosexual, a “being” which is revealed by “doing,” is a choice.

    Doing what heterosexuals do sexually while in love or in lust is a choice.
    Doing what homosexuals do sexually while in love or in lust is a choice.

    Loving is a choice.
    Lusting is a choice.

    Being a loving or lusting heterosexual is a choice.
    Being a loving or lusting homosexual is a choice.

    Jon, in your last sentence, “…as simple and as settled…being gay is a
    choice” is not debatable, because reproduction is not a “choice” about
    “being.” Reproduction is a “choice” about “doing” what it takes to
    propagate the human race.

    “Doing” that which identifies “being” reveals “choice.”

    “Being” heterosexual in “love” or “lust” and “doing” something with that “love” or “lust” is a choice.
    “Being” homosexual in “love” or “lust” and “doing” something with that “love” or “lust” is a choice.

    “Being” heterosexual in conduct is not enabled by DNA.
    “Being” homosexual in conduct is not enabled by DNA.

    “Being” male or female is enabled by DNA.
    “Doing” what males and females do sexually to propagate the race is not enabled by DNA.

    “Doing” is a “choice” not enabled by DNA.

    “Doing” is a “choice.” however, only in the sense that DNA has first enabled “being” male or female who will “do” what it takes to propagate the race.

    That is why Bruce Jenner is still
    and always will be a “he” and not a “she.”

    The “courage” for a “he” to “choose”
    to “be” a “she” and to conduct oneself as a “she” with a name change does not change DNA.

    Art
    ( http://originalbirtherdocument24.blogspot.com/ )

  • caphillprof

    You should have concern for any candidate who never finishes what he/she starts. Sarah Palin, comes immediately to mind.

  • Tanya E. Rider
  • The only politicians who don’t do this on some issue or other are the ones who know they have no chance of winning or who have an incredibly safe district for re-election. I share your disgust but I don’t see how they avoid it if they hope to get elected.

  • Butch1

    Walker’s sons must be very disappointed in having a spineless father who has to tap dance around these issues and cannot just come right out and say what he really thinks.

    It was as embarrassing as reading about Obama when he was for marriage and then reading that he believed marriage was between a man and a woman just like Hillary Clinton only to need to put their “political fingers” in the air and change their opinions once again and say that he was “evolving” and now thought that gays should be able to get married. He always thought it was so at least he was for civil unions so, it wouldn’t have been a stretch to convince him about marriage.

    Walker has family members who are gay and one of his sons was best man at her wedding. To have to stay away from the actual wedding because you are a conservative republican running for the presidency and worrying about what others might think of you attending a private wedding in your family is pathetic, though this man will do anything for a buck.

  • Butch1

    The Koch brothers haven’t given him his position on these two questions yet.

  • tedhayes

    “I’m going to stand up and work hard for every American regardless of who they are” ~ Walker

    After the way he treated unions in Wisconsin, anyone who believes that statement above should not be allowed near a ballot box.

  • Doug105

    ,,

  • Back in 1996 I remember seeing Bob Dole on one of the morning shows having to pretend he wasn’t certain that smoking caused cancer. It was embarrassing. Whatever you may think of Dole’s politics, he is a smart man. So why on earth would he have to say something so obviously stupid? Politics. And that’s the position Walker is in here. He can’t possibly think that homosexuality is a choice. In fact if asked privately most Evangelical leaders will admit that it isn’t. That includes people who run ex-gay ministries. But that’s the dumbed down talking point they are stuck with from decades ago. They can’t go back to their base and admit that they’ve been repeating a lie all these years so now, like with certain polticians and the tobacco industry they are stuck and making fools of themselves. Pardon my Schadenfreude. Sadly, I’m not confident that such a comment is enough to keep him out of the White House.

  • Quilla

    Wait…this guy’s not running on his own. He’s performing for the Wizards of Koch.

    Today Wisconsin, tomorrow America.

  • woodroad34

    He’s really put the Dubya in MidWest.

  • MoonDragon

    It’s all those hormones in the milk they use to make the cheese.

  • Indigo

    That sounds likely; it also sounds like crypto-erotic weirdness.

  • MoonDragon

    He wants to be the stern daddy who teaches the kids a lesson with a strap.

  • MoonDragon

    And union members. Don’t forget those thuggish, ISIS-like leeches.

  • MoonDragon

    I’ve known a lot of very smart people who weren’t college graduates. None of them embraced ignorance. I’ve also known college graduates who did embrace ignorance. His lack of a degree doesn’t bother me, his insistence that his ignorance and downright deluded erroneous opinions are as valid as facts and reality based positions is what offends me to the core. That this is the official position of so many in the Republican leadership terrifies me. If being elite means that I’m not the dumbest effer in the room, then I’m proud to be an elite.

  • Indigo

    He isn’t running for president, he’s running for dictator. We need to work a little harder to make that entirely clear to the public.

  • andy.lotiya

    The current market is nothing but debt fueled smoke…
    Jobs and job growth. Very funny, that was a good one. You know there are actually people out there who don’t know what is happening and believe that. Good one!!..
    Next Page

  • MoonDragon

    He claims he’s going to represent everyone and stand up for all citizens. If one group of citizen’s is devoted to suppressing the interests of another group of citizens, I foresee a problem for him. Are some citizens more worthy of his support than others? If so, which ones are more important to him? Will he list opposing interests and which side he supports more than the others?

  • AKRNC

    Just another intellectually incurious RW’er…where have we seen that before? Sarah Palin, of course. Those intellectuals were just too horribly elite for her to handle. She must love Walker since he doesn’t have a college degree. Let’s show the rest of the world we’re not only sinking in student rankings compared to the rest of the world. Now we no longer care if our President is a college graduate! FACEPALM!

  • fry1laurie

    I believe that being an uncaring, unfeeling, unsympathetic right-wing nutjob is a choice. There, I said it, and I’d say it again.

  • Necessitas

    @emjayay When we look at Walker’s words in conjunction with his actions, it’s obvious that he doesn’t consider the people you list to be Americans.

  • emjayay

    “stand up and work hard for every American regardless of who they are” unless, obviously, they are pregnant women or gay people who want equal rights or workers who want to organize.

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