Televangelist Pat Robertson believes gay men and lesbians can change their sexual orientation just like murderers, rapists and thieves can stop committing crimes.

Robertson made his remarks in reaction to a 700 Club news segment on Ecuador politician Nelson Zavala, who was banned from participating in politics for a year after he was found guilty of violating the nation's electoral code which prohibits candidates from making discriminatory remarks. Zavala, an evangelical preacher and former presidential candidate, peppered his political speeches with anti-gay rhetoric.

“For somebody to say that a homosexual can change, that somehow is a hate crime? It is a hate crime? To say somebody can change their sexual preference, that that's a hate crime?” Robertson told his viewers. “That man's freedom of speech is being taken away.”

“[T]he power of God can change people's orientation. A murderer can change. A rapist can change. A thief can change. That's what the gospel is all about. It's not a hate crime.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)