Students at Johns Hopkins University are petitioning to replace Dr. Ben Carson as the medical school's 2013 commencement speaker.
In an interview on Fox News on Tuesday Carson, a rising star in the Republican party and the outgoing director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery, said "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."
The petition also cites Carson's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast where the Maryland neurosurgeon criticized a number of President Obama's policies. Obama was in the audience when Carson made the speech.
"We retain the highest respect for Dr. Carson's achievements and value his right to publicly voice political views," the petition, posted Thursday on the student group's Facebook page, reads. "Nevertheless, we feel that these expressed values are incongruous with the values of Johns Hopkins and deeply offensive to a large proportion our student body.
"As a result, we believe he is an inappropriate choice of speaker at a ceremony intended to celebrate the achievements of our class. We hope the administration of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will select an alternative speaker that better represents the values of our student body and of our great University."
Carson's popularity within the Republican Party has sparked speculation that he could one day run for president or another prominent political office. In an interview on CNN about a week earlier, Carson said he would "seriously consider" a run for the presidency.
"If a year and a half goes by, and people are still clamoring for me to do that, and there's no other very good candidate, I would certainly have to seriously consider it," Carson said in the interview.