(Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Friday he disagreed with comments comparing homosexuality to alcoholism made by his potential 2016 Republican rival for the White House, Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Perry, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2012, said Wednesday during an appearance in San Francisco that he believed homosexuality was a “lifestyle” and a condition that could be overcome.
“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that,” Perry said. “And I look at the homosexual issue in the same way.”
Christie, who was in San Francisco on Friday to lend support to California Republican candidates, told reporters he thought the comments were “wrong.”
“I’ll just say I disagree with them,” Christie said. “I don’t believe that’s an apt analogy and not one that should be made because I think it’s wrong.”
Perry’s comments were met with criticism by gay rights groups and some people in the audience at the Commonwealth Club of California gasped in response, according to the local CBS affiliate.
Perry has strongly opposed the legalization of gay marriage in his state. The Texas Republican Party in the past week endorsed the policy of reparative therapy that aims to change gays to heterosexuals through counseling.
So-called “gay conversion therapy” among minors was banned in New Jersey last year.
Christie vetoed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in New Jersey in 2012 then conceded defeat a year later, dropping a challenge to a state Supreme Court decision that paved the way for same-sex nuptials.
The ruling allowed the Garden State to become the 14th to legalize gay marriage, which as of this week is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jonathan Oatis