Ben Carson pointed to the prison system as proof that being gay is a choice.
During an interview with CNN that aired Wednesday, Carson dismissed comparisons between the civil rights movement and gay rights movement, stating that people have no control over their race. Asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo whether he believes being gay is a choice, Carson responded, “Absolutely.”
“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question,” Carson said.
“If that is in fact the case, then it obviously thwarts” the notion that being gay is not a choice, he continued, despite a majority of the medical community in agreement that gay people have no control over their sexual orientation.
Carson also said he believes the Constitution requires civil issues, such as marriage laws, to be determined at the state level and not by federal courts.
“Why do gay people want to get married? Because they want to have various rights — property rights, visitation rights. Why can’t any two human beings, I don’t care what their sexual orientation is, why can’t they have the legal right to do those things?” Carson said. “That does not require changing the definition of marriage.”
The former neurosurgeon has been exploring a long shot bid for the Republican nomination for president and announced Tuesday the establishment of a presidential exploratory committee — Carson’s most serious step yet indicating he plans to run for president. Carson came in fourth in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s presidential straw poll last week, with 11.4 percent of the vote. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who came is third, garnered 11.5 percent of the vote.
Carson has a history of making anti-gay comments. In 2013, Carson withdrew as commencement speaker for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine after comparing homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia. Carson apologized to the university community for any embarrassment his remarks may have caused.
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