January 12, 2017 at 4:40 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Ben Carson derides LGBT rights as ‘extra rights’
Ben Carson implied during his confirmation hearing LGBT rights are "extra rights." (Screenshot via CSPAN)

Ben Carson implied during his confirmation hearing LGBT rights are “extra rights.” (Screenshot via CSPAN)

Ben Carson echoed his history of opposition to LGBT rights Thursday when he implied they were “extra rights” during his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Questioning on the issue came from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who, after saying LGBT people “face discrimination, as you know, and alarmingly high rates of youth homelessness and bullying,” asked whether HUD has a duty to promote equal access opportunities to LGBT people.

Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Housing & Urban Development said he intends to apply the law to protect all people, but echoed his history of demeaning remarks about LGBT rights by saying he doesn’t believe any group is entitled to “extra rights.”

“If confirmed in this position, of course I would enforce all the laws of the land, and I believe that all Americans regardless of any of the things that you mentioned should be protected by the law,” Carson said. “What I mentioned in the past is the fact no one gets extra rights. Extra rights means you get to redefine everything for everybody else. That, to me, doesn’t seem to be very democratic.”

When Brown responded he’s “glad to hear you say you will respect that,” presumably referring to the nominee’s pledge to enforce the law, Carson replied, “Absolutely.”

Carson, who has called the LGBT community “a few people who perhaps are abnormal” and undeserving of equal protection under the law, has animated his political career with comments disparaging LGBT people. During his presidential campaign, Carson opposed same-sex marriage and backed a constitutional amendment against the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality.

Most notably, Carson landed in hot water when, as a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, he compared LGBT advocates to pedophiles during an interview on Fox News. Outcry over the remarks led him to apologize “if anybody was offended” and cancel plans to give the commencement address for the medical school.

Carson’s views on LGBT rights raise questions about how he’d handle his role as HUD secretary. Among other things, he’d have authority to rescind a rule prohibiting government-funded housing from discriminating against LGBT people, or institute a religious exemption for that rule that could substantially limit its reach. Carson could undo the extension of that rule prohibiting homeless shelters from turning away transgender people based on their gender identity.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said via Twitter Carson’s suggestion that LGBT rights are “extra rights” is beyond alarming.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

9 Comments
  • This type of bigotry is especially discouraging coming from a person of color, who of all people, should know better. Also, Trump has a long history of discriminating against POC in housing in NY. We had all better start contributing to LGBT support organizations. A lot of people are going to need their help over the next four years.

  • The rights should go no further other than what applies to your original biological birth certificate. If your birth records indicate female you fall under all the laws that were put there for female. If your birth records indicate male then your right falls under those laws that were put there for males.

  • More religious excuses for doing the wrong thing.

  • Being a blind fool, is a choice; being gay is not. As a CIS person, I believe that humans come in many types and BenBo has chosen to be one of the more vile types. He must not be allowed anywhere near government.

  • get rid of the hater african hater Trump is gay friendly and his family too!

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