Neurosurgeon and possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonCarson's calendar includes trips to Florida on Fridays: report The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Dems grapple with race, gender and privilege Ben Carson says he will step down after Trump's first term ends MORE apologized Wednesday night for saying that gay people chose their sexuality, and that people "go into prison straight and when they come out, they're gay."

“I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation,” he said on Facebook. “I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.”

He noted his medical experience and suggested that the question of how sexuality originates is still up for debate in scientific circles.


“Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate,” he said, “and up until this point there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality.”

But he also said he supported civil unions for gay couples and thought that states could vote to authorize or forbid same-sex marriage.

“Religious marriage must only be governed by the church,” he said. “Judges and government must not be allowed to restrict religious beliefs.”

Appearing on CNN on Wednesday morning, Carson claimed that people “go into prison straight and when they come out, they're gay,” which proves that someone can choose to be gay.

He has run afoul of gay rights supporters before. In 2013, he compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia and had to drop out as the speaker at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's commencement amid protests.