After comparing gay marriage to bestiality and pedophilia, Dr. Ben Carson used his first column at right-wing paper The Washington Times to condemn political correctness as "one of the most malignant and destructive tendencies" in America.
Dr. Carson, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, became a conservative media star after criticizing President Obama's health care law at the National Prayer Breakfast in February. Following his comments, Carson was a frequent guest on Fox News shows and promoted as a potential GOP presidential candidate by Fox hosts.
On July 10 Washington Times announced that Carson would be joining their team as a weekly opinion columnist, calling him "one of the freshest and most powerful voices in the conservative movement." In his first column, Carson attacked the "PC police" who "intentionally took something I said out of context" in order to have "a conversation about me and whether or not I was a homophobe":
The point of my answer was that once we begin changing essential definitions, it will be difficult to draw a line in the sand that indicates we won't continue to change it beyond that point. My answer was not so much about homosexuals or any of the other groups that were mentioned, but rather about our need to maintain certain behavioral definitions and standards in order to preserve our identity. If we keep redefining our fundamental institutions, how will we or our progeny have a social anchor on which to base our behavior?
The PC police tried to persuade people that I was comparing same-sex behavior with unacceptable forms of sexual variation. I was not making that comparison, but the speech minders insisted that it was my intention, as though they knew more about my intentions than I did. Their desire was to change the focus of the argument and to shut me up.
Later in the column, Carson claimed his stance on marriage equality is that "I did not think that any group had the right to change the definition of a fundamental pillar of society" But Carson is downplaying his own remarks. On the March 26 edition of Fox News's Hannity, Carson was asked his views on gay marriage and responded [emphasis added]:
HANNITY: All right, last question, we have the issue of the Supreme Court dealing with two issues involving gay marriage. I've asked you a lot of questions. I've never asked you that, what are your thoughts?
CARSON: Well, my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. 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. So he, it's not something that is against gays, it's against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications.
HANNITY: And you know, it's interesting, Justice Sotomayor brought up the issue of polygamy and incest. Where does the definition stop and I guess, we'll be debating it for weeks and months to come.
Carson also made offensive statements in his book America the Beautiful where he claimed that attempts to "redefine marriage" could lead to a "disastrous ending" for America on par with the fall of the Roman Empire. Carson added that his opposition to marriage equality is "a logical and reasoned view":
"[F]amily structure and the propagation of humankind. ... God obviously knew what he was doing when he ordained the traditional family, and we should not denigrate it in order to uplift some alternative.
Gay rights groups and students at Johns Hopkins University agreed that Carson's rhetoric was offensive. Media outlets called Carson's remarks a "trainwreck," gaffe city, polarizing and possibly hurtful language." Carson's colleagues called these remarks "hurtful" and "extremely discouraging." Johns Hopkins professor Todd Shepard called his colleague's remarks "reactionary and rancid," adding that it reminds us "of how far the general discussion has advanced beyond Dr. Carson and his far-right audience." Pressure from student and LBGT groups at Johns Hopkins University compelled Carson to step down as commencement speaker at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.