Mike Huckabee has said he believes there is an “ick factor” to homosexuality. The former Arkansas governor defended his remarks Sunday by saying he wasn’t the first to use the term.
Huckabee said he got the term from University of Chicago professor Martha Nussbaum — but Nussbaum says she never used or coined the term.
In a recent interview with The New Yorker magazine, Ariel Levy asked Huckabee to explain his opposition to gay rights.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work the same.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I asked him if he had any arguments that didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to do with God or ickiness. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are some pretty startling studies that show if you want to end poverty itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not education and race, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s monogamous marriage,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Many studies show that children who grow up in a healthy environment where they have both a mother and a father figure have both a healthier outlook and a different perspective from kids who donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the presence of both.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Human Rights Campaign Vice President Fred Sainz said Huckabee’s comments were “no surprise from a man who is consistently wrong and uninformed.” Sainz told Politico:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ick is being fired from a job, being the victim of a hate crime or being bullied at school simply because you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sainz added. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And ick is certainly an appropriate way to describe Mr. HuckabeeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mind going to sex when all that we are asking for is our equality. Ick indeed.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Speaking to Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday, Huckabee implied that his use of the term was acceptable because it had once been used in a gay magazine.
“That term comes from a gay magazine called The Edge in which the author, Joseph Erbentraut, interviewed professor Martha Nussbaum from — one of Barack Obama’s colleagues [from] The University of Chicago. She uses a term ‘projected disgust.’ He, in the interview, coined this phrase. It’s in the article that he wrote. It’s in the interview with her. That phrase was not mine. It is actually a phrase that exists within the gay community. But somehow it is okay if they talk about it but if someone else talks about it, it is off bounds,” explained Huckabee.
But Nussbaum claims that she never used the term “ick factor” when talking about gay issues.
“I have never used the phrase ‘ick factor’ in any of my three books dealing with the emotion of disgust, or in any articles,” Nussbaum said in an email quoted by news sources. “I use the term ‘projective disgust’ to characterize the disgust that many people feel when they imagine gay sex acts.”
She continued, “Projective disgust has its origin in a discomfort with one’s own body … including sexuality, and that, in a defense mechanism, disgust is then projected outward onto vulnerable groups who are characterized as hyperphysical and hypersexual. In this way, the uncomfortable people displace their discomfort onto others, who are then targeted for various forms of social discrimination.”
Gov. Huckabee “owes me a public apology,” Nussbaum concluded.
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast June 27, 2010.