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(USA TODAY) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry likened homosexuality with alcoholism, suggesting that an individual can "decide not to do that."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the comment from Perry, made during a speaking engagement Wednesday night, came in response to a question on whether he believes homosexuality is a disorder.

"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry is quoted as saying. "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue that way."

The Texas Republican Party recently adopted a new platform that endorses "reparative therapy," which seeks to turn gay people straight. The American Psychological Association and other major health organizations have denounced such counseling, which seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or decrease their interest in same-sex activity.

The Chronicle story notes that there was a "murmur of disbelief" among the Commonwealth Club of California audience, which included many Perry supporters.

Perry, who is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, was in San Francisco to talk about the economy.

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