In an interview with Fox News' Special Report on
Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson spoke about gay rights and said he was “irritated” by statements that
gay rights are the same as civil rights. Just three months after a pledge to avoid talking about gay rights for the remainder of his presidential campaign, Carson has proven again that he really shouldn’t talk about homosexuality. Or civil rights. Or being president.
It’s safe to say that Dr. Carson’s statements about gay rights have been among the most confounding of his presidential campaign. Last year, at a Republican conference in Maryland, Carson outlined his stance on gay marriage: that gay couples should have the same rights as everyone else, but that marriage should only be defined as a union between a man and a woman. In an interview with Sean Hannity, the former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon went on to compare homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, arguing that, "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."
A few months later, Carson went on CNN's New Day and argued that sex between prison inmates proved that sexuality is a choice: “Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there?”
After the firestorm that followed those statements— including
a petition by Hopkins medical school graduates to stop Carson from speaking at their graduation— Carson
told Hannity on his radio show that he’d decided to stop talking about gay
I simply have decided I'm not really going to talk about that issue anymore because every time I'm gaining momentum the liberal press says, "Let’s talk about gay rights." And I’m just not going to fall for that anymore.
That didn’t last long.
In this week's interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, Carson took the opportunity to clear up the last insane thing he said about gay people:
I came out and said that it was a bone-headed statement. I was actually — and I shouldn't have allowed my emotions into it— but I was a little bit irritated because he was equating the whole issue with the civil rights movement. Because, quite frankly, I didn't remember any times when there were signs up that says, "Everybody else here and gay people have to drink at this fountain." I was a little irritated, but I shouldn't have allowed that to enter into the discussion.
Clearly, Carson hasn't been following the religious
freedom laws popping up in places like Indiana.
Just a few months ago, Indiana lawmakers at a press conference admitted that LGBT discrimination is completely legal in that state. Even without the new religious freedoms bill to allow store owners to deny services to gay people, businesses in the state can legally put up signs saying “No Gays Allowed” since there's no statewide law against LGBT discrimination.
And in North Carolina, legislators voted Thursday to override their governor's veto of another religious freedoms bill that allows government officials to opt out of performing same-sex marriages.
Hmmm. Those sound like civil rights issues to me.
The most disturbing part of all this? Ben Carson is, according to a Washington Post poll analysis, in a statistical tie for the lead of the Republican race for president. In an article calling Carson’s presidential bid “the longest of long shots,” even The Washington Post seemed baffled that his poll ratings are so high.
Carson has arguably the best non-political background in the field, and he's running for president in an election in which there are so many candidates on the GOP side that it's going to be incredibly tough for one person to command much of a lead. ... There's a big difference between getting 10 percent of the vote and competing to win states — a far taller hurdle for a political novice like Carson. But being at 10 percent also means Carson will look like a contender until other candidates start actually rising from the mess of a crowded field that exists.
It's hard to imagine that Dr. Carson can top his earlier statements, but I'm hoping the field of contenders narrows a bit more before he has a chance to try again.
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