- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon and likely Republican presidential candidate Ben S. Carson responded Wednesday to public backlash following comments he made earlier in the day about homosexuality being a choice.

Mr. Carson told CNN’s Chris Cuomo earlier Wednesday that he believes homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice, because “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.”

The comments quickly made national headlines with critics using it as evidence the popular conservative isn’t ready for prime time.

Mr. Carson, who was a weekly columnist for The Washington Times, appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show Wednesday evening to defend his stance.

“First of all, it was a 25-minute interview,” he explained. “They chopped, and you saw what part they emphasized.”

“I did learn something very important, with certain networks, never do a pre-taped interview. Always do it live,” he added. “But here’s the point: I believe in traditional marriage — between a man and a woman.”

“I also believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their beliefs, and that includes people who are gay,” Mr. Carson continued. “I have no problem with them doing whatever they want to do. I’m just not willing to change the definition of marriage for anybody, because once you do that, you have to change it for everyone else who comes along. Why would we want to do that? We have something that’s worked for thousands of years to create a nurturing environment for raising children. And I think that’s where we ought to leave it.”

He added: “I simply have decided I’m not going to really talk about that issue anymore, because every time I gain momentum, the liberal press says, ‘let’s talk about gay rights.’ I’m just not going to fall for that anymore.”

Mr. Carson has not formally announced a 2016 presidential run but this week launched both a fundraising committee and an exploratory committee on a possible White House run.

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