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CNN's Ashleigh Banfield clarifies her 'lifestyle choice' comment about gays

'Not what I meant to say at all. Being gay is not a choice'

CNN's Ashleigh Banfield said on Friday (1 June) that she misspoke when she said during a broadcast this week that 'homosexuality is a lifestyle choice by people.'

Banfield's comment came during an interview with Kansas Pastor Curtis Knapp lit up the Twitterverse and she quickly became the target of a lot of criticism. Knapp believes the federal government should put all gays and lesbians to death.

During Friday's edition of CNN’s Early Start, which she co-anchors, Banfield tried to diffuse the controversy: '... In no way did I ever want to suggest that being gay is a choice. It is not. And I probably used the word 'lifestyle choice - not what I meant to say at all. Being gay is not a choice.'

During Thursday's interview with Knapp, Banfield had been trying to condemn his comment that 'we punish pedophilia, we punish incest, we punish polygamy and various things. It's only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.'

Banfield had taken issue with his attempt to compare homosexuality to pedophilia and incest and said: 'Pedophilia is not by choice, last I checked. ... When he says 'they punish incest and pedophilia,' please. Those things are often not by choice and are crimes. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice by people. It is voluntary.'

She now acknowledges that 'I probably misspoke and mangled words. But I want to be very clear: When I said that incest and pedophilia involve people who don’t have a choice — victims who don’t have a choice — and then said a gay relationship, you do have a choice, they are not crimes. Gay people involved in relationships are not committing any crimes at all. However, those who perpetrate incest and perpetrate pedophilia are committing crimes. I don’t know that my comments were taken in that light and I certainly hope they were.'

'I hope that at least clears up any of the comments I made after that story of the pastor,' she added. 'And in no way do I agree with or stand by any of the comments that that pastor made either.'

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