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God Can Change Gays, Says Former Kentucky Governor & Current State Senator

It was a story about how being gay in a Kentucky campaign was a surprising non-issue.

Jim Gray, the Lexington mayor who is the Democratic Party's nominee to face incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul in November, is openly gay. "Does anybody care?," asked the headline in Roll Call, the DC-based political newspaper.

Writer Alex Roarty's piece featured a perspective that in the Gray-Paul race, no one is making an issue of Gray's sexuality:

Gray’s campaign is undoubtedly a sign of how far gay and lesbian candidates have come. It even suggests that in the year 2016, they may not have all that much further to go.

Voters have certainly moved past their bias and prejudice before. Catholics, for instance, once faced imposing barriers to office that, about the time John F. Kennedy won election in 1960, simply ceased to exist.

The LGBT community isn’t there yet. Even among Gray’s allies, beliefs that have been pushed to the boundaries of mainstream society — like whether being gay is a choice — persist.  

The part about Gray's allies who may still believe that being gay is a choice seems to point to former governor Julian Carroll, now a state senator representing Frankfort. Carroll, a Democrat, is quoted towards the end of the lengthy profile published Monday. Here's what Roll Call included from the Democratic Minority Whip:

Julian Carroll, who served as governor in the mid-to-late 70s and is now 85, didn’t even need a microphone. His booming voice might have carried all the way to the nearby Ohio River as he spoke about how he had known Gray’s family for decades, how great they all were, and how well Jim had performed as mayor.

It made his response all the more telling when asked if he thought being gay is a choice.

“I know my Christian friends don’t approve of it,” he said. “And quite frankly, it’s not a choice I choose to make.”

Carroll said that people had tried to explain to him that whether someone is gay is not a choice, and he emphasized that he respects their opinion.

But as a Christian, he added, his view was unwavering.

“You can choose to ask God to convert you and heal you of that choice,” Carroll said.

Carroll served as Governor from 1974 to 1979, and has served in the state senate since 2005. His district includes parts of Franklin, Anderson, Gallatin, Owen, and Woodford Counties.

Read the full Roll Call story by clicking here.

-Staff report

Photo: Sen. Julian Carroll in a committee meeting in July (LRC Public Information)