Newt Gingrich believes people can choose to be straight, just like they can "choose to be celibate."
During an interview with the Des Moines Register's editorial board Thursday morning, Gingrich said he believes "people have many ranges of choices" when it comes to sexual orientation. When asked if he thinks people choose to be gay, the Republican presidential hopeful claimed "it's a combination of genetics and environment."
When asked if a person could choose to be straight, Gingrich compared the supposed choice of being gay to a priest making the decision to give up sex.
"Look, people choose to be celibate. People choose many things in life," he said. "You know, there is a bias in favor of non-celibacy. It's part of how the species recreates. And yet there is a substantial amount of people who choose celibacy as a religious vocation or for other reasons."
The former House Speaker isn't the only candidate who has recently caused a stir over gay rights. In an interview with the Boston Herald this week, Romney said he'd support an amendment that would create a complex system of marriage.
Romney told reporters he would support a three-tier system that maintained marriage rights for straight couples and allowed gay couples who have already wed to remain married. He ruled out future same-sex marriages.
"I think it would keep intact those marriages which had occurred under the law but maintain future plans based on marriage being between a man and a woman," Romney said.
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more