2012 Election | Lady Gaga | Tim Pawlenty

Watch: Tim Pawlenty Says Science 'In Dispute' About Homosexuality

TPaw Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty last week said that he's a fan of Lady Gaga, including her pro-gay anthem, "Born This Way."

Perhaps he's not listening to that track closely enough, because the recently glitter-bombed candidate told Meet the Press host David Gregory today that "there’s no scientific conclusion that [homosexuality] is genetic."

Here's the transcript:

GREGORY: Is being gay a choice?

PAWLENTY: Well, the science in that regard is in dispute. I mean, scientists work on that and try to figure out if it’s behavioral or if it’s partly genetic –

GREGORY: What do you think?

PAWLENTY: Well, I defer to the scientists in that regard.

GREGORY: So you think it’s not a choice? That you are, as Lady Gaga says, you’re born that way.

PAWLENTY: There’s no scientific conclusion that it’s genetic. We don’t know that.

As Zack Ford at ThinkProgress points out, the country's leading medical groups agree that a variety of factors, including genetics, play a role in determining a person's sexuality.

The American Psychological Association, for example, describes sexuality as “a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors.”

Watch Pawlenty and Gregory's exchange, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. The republicans and right wingers MUST stake out this position. Their anti-gay diatribes have no moral or legal basis, if in fact homosexuality is genetic or in born in any way.

    Regardless, the republican tactic of disregarding science on a number of issues is completely disturbing.

    Posted by: qjersey | Jul 10, 2011 12:16:10 PM

  2. I'm not sure I have a huge problem with him saying that science is inconclusive on the subject. What is a problem is that, if he's unsure about it like science, he should err on the side of tolerance and acceptance. Yet he's moved himself significantly right on LGBT issues recently, but tries to be as wishy-washy as possible. He's such a poor candidate, and the polls are not lying about that.

    Posted by: Bruno | Jul 10, 2011 12:17:05 PM

  3. And where exactly in the genome is the "straight" gene? Why do gays have to have some sort of scientific research done in order to get equal rights??

    (For the record, though, I believe there is more evidence suggesting the sexual orientation is affected by the hormones in the womb during gestation.)

    Posted by: Matthew | Jul 10, 2011 12:20:02 PM

  4. So does that mean that heterosexuality isn't necessarily genetic either?

    I wonder where he gets his facts.

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 10, 2011 12:21:00 PM

  5. It doesn't matter if science cannot figure out all the answers. Even if it is 100% a choice, just for the sake of goddamn argument, what does that matter?!
    These people don't care what science says about evolution, climate change, or any other relevant topic anyway...now they'll "defer to the scientists"?!

    Posted by: shane | Jul 10, 2011 12:22:39 PM

  6. Haha, a state governor and major candidate for President of the United States can go on national television and question whether or not homosexuality is a choice while calling himself a defender of "traditional marriage," but it's the Black athlete/rapper/comedian/entertainer who is the real enemy. Yep.

    Posted by: Jay | Jul 10, 2011 12:23:06 PM

  7. "... 'a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors.'"

    That's way too nuanced for Republicans -- or most anyone else, for that matter. This is the age of the photo-op and the sound bite -- anything more complex than a "yes" or "no" is just too complicated to deal with for a newscaster or talk show host who doesn't know what he or she is talking about anyway -- much less a politician.

    Posted by: Hunter | Jul 10, 2011 12:24:47 PM

  8. Homosexuality is my religion. Therefore it is my right to worship as I will.

    Posted by: Tikihead | Jul 10, 2011 12:28:18 PM

  9. One thing that's not in dispute is the fact that Pawlenty is boring as hell and he'll never be president.

    Posted by: Sam | Jul 10, 2011 12:28:45 PM

  10. All the blather comes down to -if sexuality is a choice-can this man or any of the Republican Reich tell us when was their epiphany about choosing to be straight? If it is a conscious choice -then the same must be true of Heterosexuality.

    Posted by: Nick | Jul 10, 2011 12:29:09 PM

  11. Governor Pawlenty,
    Science does understand why elevated roadways fall down in states with cold climates, like Minnesota. Only a scientific ignoramus of a governor would choose to cut the budget for road repair while vastly expanding other forms of spending, yet you did so and the result was a massive collapse of an occupied elevated roadway.

    You made a choice against indisputable science available to any third grader and it cost lives.

    Who are you to criticize much less legislate against other people's _personal_ choices?

    Posted by: Frank | Jul 10, 2011 12:37:49 PM

  12. Why do Xtians continue with this irrelevant debate? Same-sex attraction may very well be a genetic "option" for the entire human species. Look at dolphins and bonobo chimpanzees. But apparently, Xtians are asking whether humans can do without same-sex attraction. All right, fine. That may not be a choice for one portion of the population and a choice for another portion of the population. But there's a news flash from America's founding: choices about how to live your life are constitutionally protected. The freedom to choose to believe in some stupid-ass religion is the ultimate choice, and that's protected as freedom of religion. The last time I checked, this was a free country. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Declaration of Independence).

    Do Xtians have the nerve to suggest that same-sex love is only a right for that portion of the population for whom it's not a choice? BS! What about a man who was married to a woman, liked it for a while, but then divorced and thought he might want to try living with another guy. THAT'S HIS CHOICE! And it's just as constitutionally protected as the Xtian choice to follow their moronic religion. Will people please, please stop buying this Xtian lie about people not having the constitutional right to live their lives the way they choose? Read the goddamn U.S. Constitution!

    Posted by: Anthony-S | Jul 10, 2011 12:40:16 PM

  13. This is a tired argument. I don't believe it's a choice, but even if it is, who cares? Why do they care about who I choose to love?

    Posted by: Connectme | Jul 10, 2011 12:41:22 PM

  14. It's pathetic that this is even an issue for politicians on the right.... and as for Pawlenty he's even wishy washy with his bigotry. At least with Bachman you know where you stand. We know she is just horrid because she just comes right out with it.

    Posted by: Paul | Jul 10, 2011 12:42:33 PM

  15. "Their anti-gay diatribes have no moral or legal basis, if in fact homosexuality is genetic or in born in any way."

    Their anti-human rights stance has no moral or legal basis if, in fact, being gay is a choice. Being an idiotic lunatic fairy tale worshipper is a choice, but we protect people who are stupid or delusional enough to choose to believe that there's a giant ghost in the sky who controls the weather and football games.

    If being gay were a choice, which clearly it is not -- and sad, pathetic loser Tim Whoever knows it is not -- people who chose to be gay would be still entitled to their human rights and full equality in the USA.

    More to the point, being gay isn't a crime. You don't have to prove yourself innocent of the gay to be a fully-enfranchised human being because you were born a fully-enfranchised human being.

    People like little Timmy just get more and more pathetic with every passing year.

    Posted by: ohplease | Jul 10, 2011 12:48:50 PM

  16. Let the wingnuts argue about it. I don't care if it's genetic, environment or a combination of both. I cannot remember a time that I didn't feel attraction to men. I found a great man, and we made a good life for ourselves.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jul 10, 2011 12:53:18 PM

  17. Interesting that when asked about this he refers to science, but when asked about climate change he says scientist are wrong.

    Posted by: Joe | Jul 10, 2011 12:53:50 PM

  18. There's a basic misunderstanding going on in discussions like this, and David Gregory didn't help matters any.

    There is a great deal of debate about the extent to which sexual orientation is based in genetics, in general biology (including such things as hormone levels in utero) or environmental factors (particularly pre-birth or very early in life).

    There is virtually no scientific debate about whether or not people "choose" their sexuality because that isn't a particularly scientific question and depends largely on definitions about sexual orientation and choice.

    Want to know whether I as a gay person "chose" to be gay? Ask me. I was "there" the entire time.

    I certainly didn't "choose" to be gay. In fact, I "chose" NOT to be gay, but, apparently, it's not something we really GET to "choose." That didn't stop me from trying to be straight for decades --I never so much as held the hand of another gay person that entire time.

    Eventually, I accepted myself as I am. And I went on to fall in love (not really a "choice" either) and spend the rest of my life with the person I loved (definitely a "choice").

    It's also a non-issue. Lots of things are choices, including religion and politics, but we as a free society accept that not everyone reaches the same conclusions about what is or isn't a good choice.

    Posted by: Linguist | Jul 10, 2011 12:56:24 PM

  19. @Jay--calm down. You just posted on a thread that is full of criticism for a white politician and stated that white homophobes get a pass while we only go after black homophobes. Come back to reality. What is your problem?

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Jul 10, 2011 1:00:47 PM

  20. long time reader, first time poster.

    This is an issue I feel very very strongly about. It's very dangerous to use the word genetic when discussing sexuality. No gene has yet been identified. It's imperative that you be explicit and correct with facts when discussing this issue, lest you give the opposition a leg to stand on. I much prefer the phrase "born this way," or "not by choice," which can include environment in the womb and a whole host of other explanations over "genetic."

    Pawlenty is absolutely right that there is no genetic evidence (yet). This is a stupid argument against gay rights anyway and is only validated by the fact that people argue that being gay is genetic. Pawlenty's argument is best obviated by discontinuing arguing that homosexuality is genetic (which SHOULD be completely irrelevant anyway).

    Posted by: Jared | Jul 10, 2011 1:24:12 PM

  21. @StillmarriedinCA and @Jay

    Jay also apparently missed the earlier post about the white athlete that just apologized for using "gay" in a negative way.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Jul 10, 2011 1:31:51 PM

  22. Is being boring a choice or was Pawlenty born this way?

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | Jul 10, 2011 1:40:26 PM

  23. I accepted his apology without questioning him or his motives, just like I did for DeSean Jackson, Tracy Morgan, etc...

    I can't give a pass to Tim Pawlenty, however, no matter how remote his chances are of actually being elected are. His words are far more damaging to us and our community.

    Posted by: Jay | Jul 10, 2011 1:47:18 PM

  24. Stillmarriedinca,

    Jay is very transparent about his problem. He's very angry about the color of his skin and wishes he were white.

    Posted by: Dexter | Jul 10, 2011 2:02:22 PM

  25. Hey Dexter...hardly but nice try.

    Posted by: Jay | Jul 10, 2011 2:05:09 PM

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