Johns Hopkins University has already decided to retain Dr. Ben Carson as a commencement speaker, despite opposition from a majority of graduating students in the School of Medicine, according to a knowledgeable source.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Blade that Johns Hopkins will keep Carson as speaker despite a petition signed by a majority of the graduating class calling him an “inappropriate choice” — and said the school will formally make the announcement later this week. The university’s public affairs office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The university told Talking Points Memo last week that Carson, considered a rising star in the Republican Party, would be retained despite comments he made comparing the movement to legalize same-sex marriage to pedophilia and bestiality. But the university had yet to weigh in after a Thursday statement from Media Matters quoting the original petitioners as saying a “majority of the graduating class” had signed on as well as “close to 700 signatures.”
In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Carson said he believes marriage is one man, one woman — a definition that he called “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,” Carson continued.
In a later interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Carson apologized “if anybody was offended” and said he’d be open to withdrawing as speaker if the students didn’t want him. Carson didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment.
One of the original petition signers, Carl Streed, who represents the School of Medicine in the leadership of the Gertrude Stein Society, a group of more than 300 students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Hopkins Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health who work to promote LGBT issues on campus, declined to comment.