Dr. Ben Carson said Wednesday that he believes homosexuality is a choice because some people who go to prison identifying as straight come out of prison identifying as gay.
During a discussion of same-sex marriage, CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked the potential 2016 Republican presidential contender whether he thought being gay was a choice. When Carson replied “absolutely,” Cuomo asked him to explain.
“Because a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight — and when they come out they’re gay,” Carson said on “New Day.” “So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
Carson went on to argue that changing the definition of marriage isn’t necessary to give gay couples equal rights.
The conservative darling has a history of making disputed remarks about homosexuality, earning him a brief spot on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s anti-LBGT “extremist” list.
He’s also staunchly opposed to broadly legalizing gay marriage. Carson told an Iowa broadcaster in January that he believes Congress should dismiss federal judges who rule in favor of gay marriage, and he built on that idea again last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference without explicitly referencing gay marriage.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.