Conservative darling Ben Carson continues on his tour to convince Republican primary voters that he is dumb enough to get the GOP nomination for president, and he seems to be doing a good job. On March 4, Carson stopped by CNN, where he had some interesting views to share about why he thinks being gay is a choice.
Host Chris Cuomo opens the clip by talking about same sex marriage in terms of equal protection. He points out that, as issues regarding marriage equality are working their way through the court system, people of religious faith are saying, “marriage is ours. God says it is a man and a woman.” He asks Carson which argument wins with him.
Carson starts off his reply with a response from the standard conservative playbook — that such issues should be left up to the states to decide. But then, as he tends to do, the good doctor wanders off the farm.
Cuomo asks what happens if the people of a state overwhelmingly vote for a law that winds up infringing on people’s rights. He offers slavery as an example. “And, our constitution was followed, and we corrected those things,” Carson replies.
“Isn’t that what’s happening right now with same sex marriage?” Cuomo asks. “It’s being corrected, as a form of violation of equal protection.”
“It’s not the same situation,” Carson responds. “Because people have no control over their race, for instance.”
“You think they have control over their sexuality?” Cuomo asks.
“Absolutely,” Carson says.
Cuomo seems surprised. “You think being gay is a choice?”
“Absolutely,” Carson says again.
“Why do you say that?” Cuomo wants to know.
“Because, a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay,” Carson replies.
Of course, the issue is a lot more complicated than that, and Cuomo attempts to bring other factors into the discussion. Carson cuts him off. “Do you deny that it’s true?” he asks Cuomo.
Carson misses one simple point about the sexual behavior of men in prison. As pointed out by psychotherapist Joe Kort in the Huffington Post, most men who engage in sex with other men while in prison do so because there are no women available to have sex with. Kort says that, once they leave the prison environment, most of these men return to engaging in heterosexual relations.
At the end of the interview, Carson seems to hint that he would be ok with civil unions, as long as the word “marriage” is left out of the equation. He tells Cuomo,
Why do gay people want to get married? Why do they say they want to get married? Because they want to have various rights — property rights, visitation rights. Why can’t any two human beings, I don’t care what their sexual orientation is, why can’t they have the legal right to do those things? That does not require changing the definition of marriage.
Is Carson really this dumb when it comes to issues of sexual orientation, or is he pandering to the GOP base? Carson had to apologize in 2013 for remarks he made about gay marriage on Sean Hannity’s show. Maybe this time, since he’s talking about prisoners, he thinks he’ll be safe.
Here’s the video, via CNN:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwVSQ5kGXMA]
Image via screen capture from CNN/YouTube