Dr. Ben Carson: 'I Support Civil Unions for Gay Couples'

By Melanie Arter | March 5, 2015 | 2:25 PM EST

Dr. Ben Carson, author of "One Nation: What We Can Do to Save America's Future."

(CNSNews.com) - In a Facebook post following his interview with CNN’s “New Day,” Dr. Ben Carson issued a statement, apologizing for saying people who change their sexual orientation after going to jail shows that “being gay is a choice.”

“In a recent interview on CNN, I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues,” Carson said. “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.”

As CNSNews.com previously reported, Carson said homosexuality is a “choice,” because “a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay.”

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins Hospital, said in his statement on Facebook: “I'm a doctor trained in multiple fields of medicine, who was blessed to work at perhaps the finest institution of medical knowledge in the world. 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.

“We do know, however, that we are always born male and female. And I know that we are all made in God's image, which means we are all deserving of respect and dignity,” he added.

“I support human rights and Constitutional protections for gay people, and I have done so for many years. I support civil unions for gay couples, and I have done so for many years. I support the right of individual states to sanction gay marriage, and I support the right of individual states to deny gay marriage in their respective jurisdictions,” Carson said.

During the CNN interview, Carson indicated that civil issues like same-sex marriage should be left up the states.

“Here’s what I would do. I would do what the Constitution says. Constitution says: civil issue of that nature should be determined at the state level. Why does it say that? Because the judicial system at the state level has to answer to the people,” he said in the interview.

Carson also suggested that two people - regardless of sexual orientation - should be legally allowed to determine property rights and visitation rights.

“Here’s what’s important: Why do gay people want to get married? Because they want to have various rights – property rights, visitation rights,” he said in the interview.

“Why can’t any two human beings--I don’t care what their sexual orientation is--why can’t they have the legal right to do those things?” Carson asked in the interview.

In his Facebook post, Carson said “marriage is a religious institution.”

“Religious marriage is an oath before God and congregation. Religious marriage must only be governed by the church. Judges and government must not be allowed to restrict religious beliefs,” he said.

“I am not a politician and I answered a question without really thinking about it thoroughly. No excuses. I deeply regret my statement and I promise you, on this journey, I may err again, but unlike politicians when I make an error I will take full responsibility and never hide or parse words. As a human being my obligation is to learn from my mistakes and to treat all people with respect and dignity,” Carson concluded in his Facebook post.