US: Remarks on morality of being gay draw criticism

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson answered "yes" when asked by an Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Wednesday if being gay is immoral. Thursday, Jeanne Atkins, Richardson's predecessor, released a statement saying Richardson's stance on being gay "calls into question" his ability to perform his job.  

Richardson, a Mormon, was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage during his dozen years in the Oregon Legislature. In 2007, he gave a speech from the House of Representatives floor saying that gay men are more likely abuse children -- a widely debunked statistic. Two years earlier, he characterized same-sex marriage as being different than "normal" marriage during a speech at the City Club of Portland.

Richardson, the first Republican to be elected Oregon's secretary of state in three decades, told OPB Wednesday that, in his view, the choice of the government or voters to allow same-sex marriage doesn't "change the definition with God." In his view and the view of his church, sexual relations outside of a marriage covenant between a man, a woman and God is a sin.  

Atkins, who is now the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Oregon, said Richardson's statements are "appalling" and may be harmful for LGBT youth. Read more via Oregon Live