Carson Willing to Step Down as Commencement Speaker After Protests

Friday, 29 Mar 2013 04:16 PM

By Greg Richter

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A pediatric neurosurgeon who has become the darling of conservatives since speaking against nationalized healthcare is now under fire for comments he made about same-sex marriage.

Dr. Benjamin Carson told MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on Friday that he would be willing to step down as commencement speaker at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine after faculty and students signed petitions asking that he not speak.

“I would say this is their day, and the last thing I would want to do is rain on their parade,” Carson told Mitchell.

Carson said in the interview that he has not notified the university he won’t be speaking. “I am waiting for appropriate channels,” he said. “I don’t think television is the appropriate channel.”

The petitions began after Carson told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, “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.”

One of the petitions, quoted by The Hill newspaper, reads: “We retain the highest respect for Dr. Carson’s achievements and value his right to publicly voice political views. Nevertheless, we feel that these expressed values are incongruous with the values of Johns Hopkins and deeply offensive to a large proportion of our student body.”

MSNBC’s web report on the story says Carson equating same-sex marriage with pedophilia and bestiality has caused him to lose some of his star power within the GOP. Carson has said he would consider a run for president if the public was still interested in him a year-and-a-half from now.

Carson apologized for his choice of words in a Baltimore Sun story on Friday, but not for his position.

“First of all, I certainly believe gay people should have all the rights that anybody else has,” Carson told the Sun. “What I was basically saying is that as far as marriage is concerned, that has traditionally been between a man and a woman and nobody should be able to change that.”

Carson came into the national spotlight in February after criticizing healthcare and other policies of President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast while Obama was sitting just a few feet away on the same dais. He also drew applause when he spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this month.

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