Potential presidential candidate Ben Carson doesn’t want to talk about LGBT issues.
The neurosurgeon insisted Thursday on CNN’s “New Day” that the topic is “a personal issue” that should be left to private forums – not discussed in a public forum like the media.
“It seems to be a topic – a person’s sexual orientation – that is of fair amount of concern to you. I don’t find it to be anywhere near as interesting,” Carson said Thursday. “I think it’s a personal issue and we ought to leave it as a personal issue.”
“Leave…the personal issues to the personal people,” Carson added.
Carson also refused to share his views in the widely discredited practice of gay conversion therapy, which is intended to make gay people feel heterosexual. The White House officially announced Wednesday it supports banning the practice.
“That kind of thing should be left to therapists and to individuals. I don’t think it’s anybody else’s business,” Carson said.
The interview Thursday came one month after Carson’s last stop on “New Day,” when he argued that homosexuality is a choice, resting his argument on the fact that people “go into prison straight – and when they come out, they’re gay.” Carson later apologized for those comments, but criticized the CNN interview and said he would no longer be addressing gay rights.
While he called for LGBT rights to remain a private issue, Carson called for a “much greater conversation about Christians and their rights.”
“Why are we not talking about that?” Carson asked.
Religious discrimination, like discrimination on the basis of race or gender, is protected under the Constitution. Sexual orientation is not protected under the Constitution and LGBT groups are pushing for anti-discrimination laws tailored to protect members of that community.
Carson would not say whether he thinks religious groups or LGBT individuals received more protections under the law.
“I would like to see as much emphasis on the rights of Christians and people who are members of the faith community as there is to some of the other groups,” he said. “The important thing is for us as a nation to recognize that all citizens of the United Sates are protected by our constitution. We need to stop deciding that one group versus another group is the flavor of the day and we need to do things that provide for justice and liberty for everybody.”
Carson’s comments come as the Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on same-sex marriage this summer and in the wake of the recent controversy over the push for controversial “religious freedom” laws that could give business owners leeway to refuse services to gay couples planning to get married, for example.
The Republican governors of Indiana and Arkansas made fixes to legislation in their states after a nationwide backlash.