Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, considered by some to be a potential Republican contender for president, apologized to Johns Hopkins University for the "poorly chosen words" he used in expressing his opposition to gay marriage last month.
"Although I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman, there are much less offensive ways to make that point. I hope all will look at a lifetime of service over some poorly chosen words.”
Carson will remain as commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins, but his comments about gay marriage sparked a firestorm of criticism from students and others, many of whom called for him to be removed as commencement speaker at his alma mater.
Speaking on Fox News last month, Carson likened gays to supporters of bestiality and members of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), which seeks to legalize consensual relationships between adults and minors.
“It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group — be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are — they don’t get to change the definition,” he said. “So it’s not something that is against gays; it’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications.”
He later walked back the comments and issued an apology on MSNBC, but said that his comments had been misunderstood. But students at the school, unsatisfied with his clarification, have been circulating a petition to remove him as commencement speaker.
Carson has emerged as a conservative darling following a controversial speech he gave at the National Prayer breakfast criticizing President Obama, and a well-received address at the Conservative Political Action Conference this year.