“My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Dr. Ben Carson, director of Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, said during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. “It’s a well-established fundamental pillar of society. And no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association,) be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”
LGBT rights advocates were quick to criticize Carson for his comments.
“Ben Carson clearly has no concept of gay and lesbian people who have formed loving, committed couples and families,” GLAAD Director of News and Faith Initiatives Ross Murray told the Washington Blade, noting the media watchdog group has added him to its Commentator Accountability Project that documents public figures who have made anti-LGBT statements. “He’s not an expert, but merely an anti-gay uninformed talking head.”
Carson, who in 1987 became the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, delivered the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast in D.C. in February. He also spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual conference that took place at National Harbor earlier this month.
A group of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine students and faculty members have urged the university to replace Carson as this year’s commencement speaker over the controversy.
Carson told the Baltimore Sun on Friday he would be “happy to withdraw” if “they think me being there is going to be a problem.”
He also apologized for his comments to Hannity during his interview with the newspaper and other media outlets.
“You know, as a Christian, you know, I have a duty to love all people and that includes people who have other sexual orientations, and I certainly do, and never had any intention of offending anyone,” Carson told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell. “If anybody was offended, I apologize to you. But what I was basically saying is that there is no group. I wasn’t equating those things, I don’t think they’re equal.”