Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Monday he is not sure if gay reparative therapy works and it is a question better left up to psychologists.
"I don't know," he told CNBC when asked if the therapy can change a person's sexual orientation. "The fact is we will leave that up to the psychologists and the doctors."
Perry made the comments after receiving criticism last week for using alcoholism as an analogy to explain homosexuality. Perry said people might be predisposed to a certain thing but they can choose not to do it.
Perry deflected when asked about his comments, calling it a contentious issue.
"I understand people have different opinions about that," Perry said. "The interesting thing for me is that this conversation has always been about the states rights to make decisions on this host of issues."
The American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association oppose conversion therapy because it is based upon an assumption that homosexuality is a disorder and patients should change their sexual orientation.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who criticized Perry's comments, cited the American Psychological Association's conclusion that the therapy could lead to depression or suicide when banning the therapy to change a minor's sexual orientation last year.
The issue resurfaced this month as the Texas GOP adopted a platform supportive of the therapy.
Perry said he neither condones nor condemns homosexuality.
"I don't necessarily condone that lifestyle," he said. "I don't condemn it either. We are all children of God, and the fact is that people will decide where they want to live if Washington will respect the 10th Amendment."
Perry said Texas overwhelmingly adopted a state constitutional amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman. Though a judge recently struck it down, pending appeal.
Perry said he respects how other states come down on the issue.
"I respect whatever they want to do in California or New York for that matter," he said.