Ben Carson backpedals from gay remarks

by Karen L. Willoughby, |
Retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson. | Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – One day after neurosurgeon Ben Carson announced an exploratory run for the U.S. presidency, he told a reporter homosexuality is a choice; hours later he apologized but without backing down from his belief.

"A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out, they're gay," Carson said in a Wednesday interview on CNN's New Day program with Chris Cuomo. "So did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."

That argument alone should thwart the idea homosexuality is not a choice, he contended, according to an article in

On his Facebook account last evening, Carson gave a public apology:

"I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation," Carson wrote. "I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.

"I'm a doctor trained in multiple fields of medicine, who was blessed to work at perhaps the finest institution of medical knowledge in the world," Carson continued. "Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate, and up until this point there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality. We do know, however, that we are always born male and female. And I know that we are all made in God's image, which means we are all deserving of respect and dignity."

Carson then laid out his belief about the rights of individuals and of states, and said he supports – and has for many years – civil unions for same-sex couples.

"I also think that marriage is a religious institution," Carson wrote. "Religious marriage is an oath before God and congregation. Religious marriage must only be governed by the church. Judges and government must not be allowed to restrict religious beliefs."

Carson announced March 3 on Facebook that he was setting up an exploratory committee and a new website, "If I believe that I have your support and your commitment to help, I will run for president to lead this great country to a brighter future," he said on that posting, adding that he planned to cross the nation to talk with people about their thoughts and ideas for the United States.

As he concluded his "apology" post, Carson wrote, "I am not a politician and I answered a question without really thinking about it thoroughly. No excuses. I deeply regret my statement and I promise you, on this journey, I may err again, but unlike politicians, when I make an error I will take full responsibility and never hide or parse words. As a human being my obligation is to learn from my mistakes and to treat all people with respect and dignity."