Possible Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee says homosexuality is a lifestyle choice like drinking and swearing — which is why he can accept friends who are gay, despite his religious convictions.
"People can be my friends who have lifestyles that are not necessarily my lifestyle," Huckabee said in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "I don't shut people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view. I don't drink alcohol, but gosh — a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don't use profanity, but believe me, I've got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera — it's not my cup of tea."
Still, there's no chance the former Arkansas governor will ever accept gay marriage — whether he runs for president or not.
"This is not just a political issue," Huckabee said. "It is a biblical issue. And as a biblical issue — unless I get a new version of the scriptures, it's really not my place to say, 'OK, I'm just going to evolve.'"
Asking a Christian to accept same-sex marriage, Huckabee said, is "like asking someone who's Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli."
"We don't want to do that — I mean, we're not going to do that," he said. "Or like asking a Muslim to serve up something that is offensive to him, or to have dogs in his backyard. We're so sensitive to make sure we don't offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can't have the convictions that they've had for 2,000 years."
But Huckabee's views on gay marriage are at odds with the beliefs of a majority of Americans. According to a May 2014 Gallup poll, 55 percent of those polled said same-sex couples should have marriage rights like everyone else. Forty-two percent said they should not.
"I'd like to think that there's room in America for people who have different points of view without screaming and shouting and wanting to shut their businesses down," Huckabee said Sunday. "What worries me in this new environment we're in, it's not just that someone might disagree. They don't want to argue with me, even take a different point of view. They want to close someone's business down."
The interview drew some immediate scorn on Twitter, where users mocked Huckabee's comments.
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) February 1, 2015
Mike Huckabee is right. Being gay is like drinking and using profanity -- it's something Jesus never said he was against.
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) February 1, 2015
— David Frum (@davidfrum) February 1, 2015
Huckabee's comments come as he is considering another presidential run.
In an appearance on the "Daily Show" last week, Huckabee said it is “very likely, very possible” that he will run for president in 2016. He vied for the GOP presidential nomination — and lost — in 2008.