Bill Richardson Calls Homosexuality "A Choice" at Gay Rights Forum

This post, written by Pam Spaulding, originally appeared on Pam's House Blend

[UPDATE (10:30 PM, PT): I spoke with Governor Richardson just a few moments ago to discuss his remarks at this evening's forum. See below.]

Let's just say it right now - Bill Richardson self-immolated tonight on live TV. I haven't seen anyone fumble a question like this so badly.
MS. ETHERIDGE: Thank you.
Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?
GOV. RICHARDSON: It's a choice. It's --
MS. ETHERIDGE: I don't know if you understand the question. (Soft laughter.) Do you think I -- a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, "Ooh, I want to be gay"?
GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I -- I'm not a scientist. It's -- you know, I don't see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency. I see it as a matter of love and companionship and people loving each other. You know I don't like to categorize people. I don't like to, like, answer definitions like that that, you know, perhaps are grounded in science or something else that I don't understand.
Karen Ocamb said there were gasps, and hisses in the audience. A Richardson supporter, Richard Zaldavar, said, that it's a sentiment in the Latino and black communities that homosexuality is a choice (ostensibly to rationalize Richardson stepping on that land mine). He was given ample opportunity to extract himself from the situation, but it really went downhill from there. One other hurdle he didn't clear was a direct question from Joe Solmonese about what the governor would do if the New Mexico legislature presented him with a marriage equality bill. He wouldn't answer the question.
The New Mexico legislature, I am pushing it very hard to expand domestic partnership. It's the same thing, Joe. It's a question of going through a path that is achievable.
Now, you know, I'll give the most flowery speeches like several that have done here. I am in this business to get things done, to lead, to pass legislation, to bring coalitions together, to bring the country together.
As I type this, the Richardson campaign is in scramble mode and plans to issue a "clarification." His deputy communications director, Katie Roberts is working the press room now. Here's the press release from the governor:
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