Famed neurosurgeon and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson believes that homosexuality is a choice — a theory that he said is corroborated by the fact that many people “go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.”
Carson made this claim during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo that aired on Wednesday, making the proclamation after he outlined his contention that states, rather than federal courts, should handle civil issues like marriage.
Cuomo immediately pushed back against this latter claim, asking what should be done when the will of the people supersedes the rights of minorities.
“What people of a state vote for a law, 100 to 0, that winds up infringing on the rights of a minority?” he asked, citing slavery as an example, comparing it to the current battle over same-sex marriage.
But Carson said that the two paradigms are “not the same,” taking aim at Cuomo’s comparison by noting that “people have no control over their race.”
This led Cuomo to ask whether Carson believes that homosexuality is a choice, with the coveted neurosurgeon responding, “Absolutely,” before offering up an example to corroborate his claim.
“Because a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay,” he said. “So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
The two proceeded to go back and forth, with Cuomo denying the prison example as a “basis of understanding of homosexuality.”
In the end, Carson said that he believes it’s possible for gays and lesbians to earn the property and visitation rights they seek without “changing the definition of marriage.”
Watch the clip below: