- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon and potential 2016 GOP presidential contender Ben Carson is apologizing for comments he made tying prison behavior to his contention that sexuality is a choice.

In a statement to CNN, he said he “realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues.”

“I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that, I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended,” he said.

“Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate, and up until this point, there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality,” he added.

Asked by anchor Chris Cuomo in an interview that aired on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday if being gay was a choice, Mr. Carson said, “absolutely.”

“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay,” Mr. Carson said. “So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”

Later on Wednesday, speaking on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Mr. Carson said the remarks were part of a 25-minute interview and he learned that with certain networks, he should not do something pre-taped.

“But here’s the point: I believe in traditional marriage — between a man and a woman,” he said.

“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,” he said.

Mr. Carson, who is running near the top of the potential 2016 GOP presidential field in recent polls, announced the formation of an exploratory committee this week — his clearest signal yet on his intentions for a White House bid.

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