As Dr. Ben Carson officially announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election Monday and EDGE took a look at six of the most audacious anti-gay comments made by the retired neurosurgeon in the two years he's been in the public eye as a conservative politician.
Prison sex is proof that being gay is a choice.
In a March 2015 interview on CNN, Carson said that sex between prison inmates is proof that being gay is a choice.
"[A lot] of people who go into prison go into prison straight - and when they come out, they're gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."
That comment prompted LGBT rights activist Dan Savage to issue a challenge to Carson. "If being gay is a choice, prove it. Choose it," Savage wrote.
"Choose to be gay yourself. Show America how that's done, Ben, show us how a man can choose to be gay. Suck my dick," he said.
Judges who rule in favor of marriage equality should be ejected by Congress.
In January 2015, he told conservative podcaster Steve Deace that Congress should eject judges who rule in favor of marriage equality.
"When judges do not carry out their duties in an appropriate way, our Congress actually has the right to reprimand or remove them," Carson said. "Any law on marriage should be decided by a popular referendum, and any decisions made by courts are 'unconstitutional,' justifying dismissal of judges," he added.
Gay rights advocates are dividing America with their "hate speech."
In December 2014, he said that gay rights advocates and abortion rights supporters use "hate speech" and are "try[ing] to divide everybody up." "Somebody who is pro-traditional-family, they'll come up and say, 'he's a homophobe, they hate gay people, they're nasty' and they just try to incite all this stuff really to further their own agendas," he said.
Gay-affirming clergy put finger in the eye of God.
In August 2014, he told anti-LGBT activist James Dobson on Family Talk Radio that gay-affirming clergy "put their finger in the eye of God."
"Well, you know, my emphasis is that marriage is an institution established by God himself," Carson told Dobson. "And when you look in the New Testament, the marriage relationship is used to help us understand His relationship with His people. So when you start distorting that, you're really going pretty deep into the finger-in-your-eye to God. That's why I have a hard time understanding why ministers are willing to do that."
Marriage Equality is a Communist plot.
In June 2014, while speaking at a fund raiser for the National Organization for Marriage, he suggested that marriage equality was a Marxist plot to take down the free world.
"There's a book called the Naked Communist," he told the anti-gay audience. "It lays out the whole agenda of how to attack the family and the Judeo-Christian values, to weaken the structure of America."
Gays are like pedophiles
In March 2013, while appearing on Sean Hannity's Fox News program, in a discussion about marriage equality he likened homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia.
"My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman," he told Hannity. "It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association), be they people who believe in bestiality-it doesn't matter what they are-they don't get to change the definition."
From our media partner EDGE