Ben Carson defended his views on homosexuality Wednesday during the third Republican presidential debate, asserting that opposition to same-sex marriage did not connote homophobia.

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Carson was asked about his membership on the board of Costco by co-moderator Carl Quintanilla, who also said that the retailer had been adjudged to be one of the most gay-friendly companies in America.

Carson asserted that there was no contradiction between the two positions, telling Quintanilla that “obviously you don’t understand my views on homosexuality.”

The former surgeon went on to say that “I believe our Constitution protects everybody regardless of their sexual orientation. … I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman [but] there’s no reason you can’t be fair to the gay community.”

Carson broadened that argument by saying that the implication of homophobia was “one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society. This is how they frighten people and get people to shut up.”