Monday, January 12, 2009

RNC Chair Candidate: "Homosexuality is a compulsion that can be contained, repressed or changed."

Yes, that's what Ken Blackwell, the sketchy former Ohio Secretary of State who now has a good shot at running the Republican National Committee, told me a few months back, among some other very interesting and kooky things. It's a far cry from the days when the RNC was led by the 38-year-old "bachelor" of questionable sexual orientation, Ken Mehlman, but, according to The New York Times, Blackwell, a failed Ohio gubernatorial candidate who compared homosexuality to arson and kleptomania at the height of the campaign, may well be the RNC's next chair.

Because of the much-publicized racist eruption by one of the other six candidates over the holidays, Blackwell's supporters' efforts seem to be part of a twisted, laughable attempt to make the RNC appear "diverse" because Blackwell is African-American, even though he is a lockstep, antigay religious fundamentalist. The homos, after all, can still be publicly kicked around with glee:

[A]nother candidate, Chip Saltsman, the Tennessee party chairman, was roundly criticized for distributing a holiday CD to party members that included a parody song called “Barack the Magic Negro.”

Some Republicans argued that electing a black chairman could prove helpful as the party struggles to rebuild.

I caught up with Blackwell in all of his evangelical enthusiasm at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul back in September, where he called homosexuality a "compulsion" which can be "contained," among many things he told me in an interview. You can listen to the full 13-minute interview, which we broadcast back in September, below. Here are some choice bits:

KB: I believe that our sexuality is, that we have two orientations: you're female or you're male. A union between a male and a female produces babies. I thought that is was a mistake to start to equate the union between one man and one woman with a marriage between two men and between two women.

MS:I realize that that was on the issue of marriage, but you compared homosexuality to kleptomania--

KB: No, if you go back and you look, at what, no, at what I said--

MS: Well, here's what you said, "Homosexuality is a lifestyle. It's a choice. And that lifestyle can be changed. It's a transgression against God's law." And you compared it to arsonists and kleptomaniacs, that those things were criminal activities...a compulsion, right?

KB: No. What I said is that, in that regard, you can choose, people choose to be who they are, as they choose to break civil law and God's law...I think you can choose not to be homosexual...

MS: Did you choose to be heterosexual? Did you wake up one day and say I want to be heterosexual?

KB: The answer is that I've never had to make the choice because I've never had the urge to be other than a heterosexual, but if in fact I had the urge to be something else I could have in fact suppressed that urge.


MS: But you realize people were insulted when you compared [homosexuality] to arson and kleptomania. I would like you to explain that because, how does that get into this whole "choice" issue? I mean, kleptomania is a compulsion.

KB: Well, the fact is, you can choose to restrain that compulsion. And so I think in fact you don't have to give in to the compulsion to be homosexual. I think that's been proven in case after case after case...


KB:Where you and I disagree is that I do not think homosexuality manifested in behavior is a behavior that should in fact make us change the laws of this land.

MS: But many laws have been changed already. The Supreme Court says that homosexual behavior is not illegal. Arson is a crime. If somebody burns your house down, that's hurting you, hurting other people. The Supreme Court has said if it's in your bedroom it's not hurting anybody else.

KB: If in fact you would feel better for me to say to you that, one, I believe homosexuality is a compulsion that can be contained, repressed or changed, and that makes you feel better, then that is what I'm saying in the clearest of terms.

Listen to full interview.