Christine O'Donnell, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware, has sought to reassure voters that her views on human sexuality are within the mainstream.
But newly revealed comments from 2006 show O'Donnell believed gays and lesbians suffer from an "identity disorder," putting her at odds with the American medical and psychological community and a majority of popular opinion.
"People are created in God's image. Homosexuality is an identity adopted through societal factors. It's an identity disorder," she told Wilmington News Journal reporter Victor Greto.
Greto paraphrased the comments in a 2006 profile of O'Donnell, first resurfaced by the Washington Post's Greg Sargent last week. Greto later provided Sargent the exact quote and confirmed it to ABC News.
The O'Donnell campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Homosexuality has been considered a normal variation of human sexuality for nearly four decades. The American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association both declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in the early 1970s.
A majority of Americans find gay and lesbian relations morally acceptable, according to the most recent Gallup poll.
O'Donnell's remarks on homosexuality are the latest in a string of controversial statements on conservative social issues that have surfaced in the days since she clinched the Delaware GOP nomination by upsetting Rep. Mike Castle.
She has previously expressed support for abstinence and opposition to the use of condoms and masturbation, and admitted to a brief dalliance with witchcraft.
"I dabbled into witchcraft -- I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I'm not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do," she said in an appearance on "Politically Incorrect" with Bill Maher.
"One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it. I mean, there's little blood there and stuff like that," she said. "We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar."
O'Donnell Calls Herself Member of 'Values Movement'
In a 1998 appearance on "Politically Incorrect," O'Donnell was asked about transgenderism. "How do you feel about transvestites?" said comedian Eddie Izzard.
"Well, I think you have to look on someone's heart," O'Donnell said. "What we do behind closed doors will be seen by God... our life needs to be consistent."
O'Donnell told TV talk show host Phil Donahue in 2002 that "condoms will not protect you from AIDS." And in a 2006 appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" she said efforts to promote condom use are "anti-human."
She's also received new attention for comments she made in 1996 on MTV's "Sex in the '90s" in which she likened masturbation and pornography to adultery.
During a debate in Delaware last week, O'Donnell directly addressed the 1996 comments explaining, "I was in my twenties and very excited and passionate about my newfound faith. But I assure you my faith has matured, and when I get to Washington, D.C., it will be the Constitution on which I base all of my decisions."
"Americans want our leaders to defend our values, our culture our legacy of liberty and our way of life, not apologize and tear her down," O'Donnell said. "In the diners and at the pig roasts, in the town halls and the church halls I hear people embrace for the first time a vibrant conversation about American values. They reject the narrative that's been imposed on them from the DC cocktail crowd."
On Saturday O'Donnell canceled two scheduled appearances on national Sunday news shows "Face the Nation" on CBS and "Fox News Sunday."
Campaign spokeswoman Diana Banister told The Associated Press that O'Donnell was returning to Delaware to attend church events in a key county.
"Tomorrow the priorities are back in Delaware. Those are people who supported her, who were very helpful to her in the campaign, and she feels obligated to be there and thank them."