A Colorado candidate for a US Senate seat has said that being gay is a choice and is similar to alcoholism.

Republican Ken Buck, who is a Tea Party candidate, won the GOP nomination.

He made the remarks yesterday on NBC’s Meet The Press, which he appeared on opposite his Democrat rival, Michael Bennet, who currently holds the seat.

Mr Buck was asked by host David Gregory whether he thought homosexuality is a choice.

He said: “I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that, basically, you have a choice.”

Mr Buck has previously spoken of his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and said being gay is a “lifestyle” choice.

Mr Bennet was asked what he thought of his rival’s remarks and said: “I absolutely believe he’s outside the mainstream of views on this.”

The Human Rights Campaign attacked Mr Buck’s remarks, calling them “extremely dangerous”.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said: “Mr Buck’s ill-informed views are not only factually inaccurate, but they are extremely dangerous.

“In the past six weeks a number of teenagers have taken their own lives after being the victims of anti-gay bullying and harassment.

“When public figures like Mr Buck make statements like he did today, kids struggling with their identities question their self-worth and other kids justify bullying. Ken Buck must correct his remarks now.”