October 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Ken Buck calls being gay a ‘choice,’ compares it to alcoholism

The Republican candidate in Colorado vying for a U.S. Senate seat said on Sunday being gay is a choice as he compared homosexuality to alcoholism.

Ken Buck, a Tea Party candidate who won the GOP nomination in the Centennial State, made the remarks Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” during a televised debate against his Democratic incumbent opponent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

“I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that, basically, you have a choice,” Buck said.

When David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press,” asked Bennet whether he thinks Buck’s views are outside the mainstream, the Democratic senator replied, “I absolutely believe he’s outside the mainstream of views on this.”

Buck has previously called homosexuality a “lifestyle choice” in September and said he supports “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 1993 law that bars gays, lesbians and bisexuals from serving openly in the U.S. military. Mainstream psychological institutions, including the American Psychological Association, have concluded that sexual orientation isn’t a choice.

The Colorado Senate race is tight. A poll published Sunday by Rasmussen found that Buck is leading Bennet by two points. Among those polled, 47 percent said they would vote for Buck, while 45 percent said they vote for Bennet.

UPDATE: In a statement, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, blasted Buck for his remarks and said the Republican candidate isn’t worthy of representing Colorado in the U.S. Senate.

“Mr. Buck’s ill-informed views are not only factually inaccurate, but they are extremely dangerous,” Solmonese said. “In the past six weeks a number of teenagers have taken their own lives after being the victims of anti-gay bullying and harassment. When public figures like Mr. Buck make statements like he did today, kids struggling with their identities question their self-worth and other kids justify bullying. Ken Buck must correct his remarks now.”

Watch Buck’s comments on “Meet the Press” here:

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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