Scott Walker pleads ignorance: "I don't know" if being gay is a choice

The ultra-conservative defends ban on gay Boy Scout leaders but can't answer simple question on sexual orientation

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published July 20, 2015 1:45PM (EDT)

Scott Walker                               (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)
Scott Walker (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Scott Walker isn't sure if being gay is a choice.

After the Boy Scouts of America announced plans to drop its nationwide ban on gay troop leaders, Walker rushed to condemn the move, arguing that the ban on gays should remain to "protect children." And after being roundly criticized for suggesting that gay people are pedophiles, Walker attempted to walk back his remarks, claiming that he meant the ban only protected Boy Scouts from the debate over discriminating against gay individuals, not gay people themselves.

Despite fumbling through the very first days of his presidential campaign 0ver the ultra-conservative issue of sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ Americans, the Wisconsin governor told CNN's Dana Bash this weekend that although he is running to be president, he is unable to "have an opinion on every single issue out there" insisting that the issue of sexual orientation is "not even an issue for me to be involved in."

When Bash directly asked Walker if he thought being gay is a choice, the conservative's response boiled down to, "I don't know":

Bash: Do you think that being gay is a choice?

Walker: Oh, I mean I think -- that’s not even an issue for me to be involved in. The bottom line is, I’m going to stand up and work hard for every American regardless of who they are, no matter where they come from, no matter what their background. I’m going to fight for people whether they vote for me or not.

Bash: On behalf of people to do that properly you have to understand or at least have an opinion on who they are and where they’re coming from.

Walker: But again, I think -- no, I don’t have an opinion on every single issue out there. I mean to me that’s -- I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that question. So, I’m saying I don’t know what the answer to that is. And I’m going to spend my time focused on things that I do know and I can work on.

Walker, who is the 15th candidate to announce on the Republican side, is not the only GOP presidential candidate who opposes gay adults in the Boy Scouts. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he thought "scouting would be better off if they didn't have openly gay scoutmasters."

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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