By John Connolly

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 10, 2007 ( – Mike Huckabee, a strongly pro-life and pro-family candidate in the Republican presidential race, said he stands by statements made in 1992 condemning homosexuality as sinful and the isolation of AIDS.

The statements were dredged up by the Associated Press in an effort to blacken Huckabee’s credibility but only served to add fuel to Huckabee’s recent surge to the top of polls in Iowa and North Carolina. Huckabee said still believes what he said in 1992, and that he won’t back down from it.

“I still believe this today,” he said, “I don’t run from it, I don’t recant it.” He said he would, however, state his view differently now in retrospect.

In 1992, Huckabee called homosexuality “an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle,” a claim that was questioned at his campaign events in the Carolinas over the weekend. Huckabee responded that he still thought it was sinful.

“I believe it would be,” he said, “Just as lying is sinful and stealing is sinful.”

Crowds at campaign events were enthusiastic over the former Southern Baptist preacher’s message about conservative values and religious faith, the last in a long series of statements from Huckabee from a firmly convinced pro-life platform.

In September, Huckabee attended the Values Voter Presidential Debate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, an event that Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and John McCain all declined to attend. One of the questions posed in the debate came from Stephen Bennett, executive director and founder of and a former homosexual. He asked if the candidates attending would support legislation ensuring that schools forfeit federal funding if they expose our children to homosexual propaganda that puts them at risk of AIDS, to which all the candidates replied yes.

Huckabee clarified his statement on the sinfulness of homosexuality for the press, explaining that to sin means to “miss the mark.” He would not exclude anybody from his administration solely on the grounds that they were gay.

“Of course it doesn’t mean that,” he said. “Because the fact is, I just said, everyone misses the mark. If I did that, I couldn’t have anybody in my administration; in fact, I couldn’t be in it.”

He said that people miss the mark in different ways, and the mark that homosexuals miss is marriage between a man and a woman.

Rudy Giuliani, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination, did not comment on Huckabee’s statements directly, saying he had enough of his own statements and issues to deal with. Instead, the pro-abortion and pro-gay Giuliani chose to expound his view that homosexuality was not aberrant, and revealed his cloudy view on what exactly constitutes sin.

“The way somebody leads their life isn’t sinful. It’s the acts,” said Giuliani, who lived with an openly gay couple after separating from his second wife while mayor. “It’s the various acts that people perform that are sinful, not the orientation that they have.”

See previous coverage:

Following Debate, Republican Pro-life Candidates Poised for Success

Mike Huckabee: Pro-Life, Pro-Family Republican Candidate

Arkansas Abortion Law Requiring Parental Consent Signed into Law