Renowned Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Commencement Speaker Compares Gay Marriage To Pedophiles, Bestiality

Ben CarsonNoted neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson stuck his foot in it last week on Sean Hannity’s radio show when he was asked about marriage equality.

“Well, 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.

It’s not something that is against gays—it’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications.”

We’re used to venomous right-wingers comparing homosexuality to child molesting and bestiality, but not the head of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a specialist in separating conjoined twins.

Oh, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Carson tried to do damage control on MSNBC later in the week, saying, “If anybody was offended, I apologize to you. But what I was basically saying is that there is no group [that is equal to straight couples]. I wasn’t equating those things, I don’t think they’re equal.”

You can always count on a conservative to come through with an “I’m sorry you took it that way” apology. Especially one getting active in Republican politics: Besides speaking at CPAC, Carson addressed the National Prayer Breakfast in February, has popped up repeatedly on Fox News and said he’d run for office if God told him to.

The real sticking point is that Carson is set to give the commencement address at Hopkins’ School of Medicine. A group of students have launched a petition to get him replaced:

 At the time of his nomination, Dr. Carson was known to most of us as a world-class neurosurgeon and passionate advocate for education. Many of us had read his books and looked up to him as a role model in our careers.

Since then, however, several public events have cast serious doubt on the appropriateness of having Dr. Carson speak at our graduation.

On March 26, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, Dr. Carson compared gay relationships with pedophilia and bestiality: “Well, 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. “

On February 7, Dr. Carson used the National Prayer Breakfast speech— which, like our commencement ceremony, is an historically nonpartisan event — to deride Obamacare, advocate lower taxes for the wealthy, and suggest that Christianity requires supporting Republican policies.

Dr. Carson has also used his platform as a famous neurosurgeon to promote the rejection of evolution: “Ultimately, if you accept the evolutionary theory,” he said, in a statement that would apply to the majority of students and faculty at Johns Hopkins, “you dismiss ethics, you don’t have to abide by a set of moral codes, you determine your own conscience based on your own desires.” This belief of Dr. Carson’s was unknown to many of us at the time of his nomination.

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 our student body.

Carson offered to step down to avoid taking attention away from the graduates (too late) but as of the weekend, the school has not announced any decision to disinvite Carson. A college spokesman told Huffington Post:

“Dr. Carson is a distinguished Johns Hopkins surgeon and scientist chosen to speak at the School of Medicine diploma ceremony because of his extraordinary accomplishments as a neurosurgeon and his many contributions as an advocate for education and children.

He was not asked to speak because of his personal political, religious or social views. His personal views are just that, his own. When he speaks about them, he is not speaking on behalf of Johns Hopkins.”

That line can sometimes work when you’re talking about an author or an actor, someone whose output is creative and separate from their personal life. But Carson’s opinion on homosexuality, on the Affordable Care Act—on evolution, for God’s sake—are very relevant to his work, and to his qualification to give sage advice to young doctors about to enter the field.

Photo: White House

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #bencarson #johnshopkinsuniversity #marriageequality stories and more


  • 2eo

    It’s a shame these people go against the fact that higher education means less religious belief.

    There will always be those capable of ignoring reality, and distorting the facts.

  • Ottoman

    Only damaged people are against gay rights and marriage equality in 2013. Case in point:

    “Despite his academic successes, Ben Carson still had a raging temper that translated into violent behavior. One time he tried to hit is mother with a hammer because she disagreed with his choice of clothes.

    Another time, he inflicted a major head injury on a classmate in a dispute over a locker. In a final incident, Ben nearly stabbed to death a friend after arguing over a choice of radio stations. The only thing that prevented a tragic occurrence was the knife blade broke on the friend’s belt buckle.”


    Johns Hopkins, you are another Schwarze and I like to remind you! South Africa, Apartheid was GREAT!!. AdamHomo

  • Jaroslaw

    Ottoman – I read the bio and these things could have occurred when he was a young teen. That doesn’t make his remarks about Gays and bestiality or whatever any less ignorant, but would seem to indicate one can overcome a tough childhood.

  • Ottoman

    @Jaroslaw: Are you suggesting that all sociopaths and psychopaths are poor, stupid and can’t hold jobs? Lance Armstrong and Bernie Madoff might disagree. Of course there are many highly functioning crazy people and becoming a doctor doesn’t mean you’ve overcome anything.

    Perhaps you think a doctor who can’t tell the difference between a human being and a sheep is normal, but then again, you seem to consider taking a hammer to your mother’s face just a typical childhood antic.

  • Bayardrusti

    To me, the whole “sorry if anyone was offended” style of apology just compounded the original insult.

    You can complain to Carson at his office at 410 955 7888 x0 or at his charity at 410 828 1005.

  • xamthor

    By now, experience has shown us that these homophobes are hiding something, overcompensating for …”something”…. Carson goes out of his way to mention NAMBLA…. then the article mentions he’s an advocate for children. … someone better be watching him closely.

  • ait10101

    There’s a nice article in the New Scientist this week about stupidity. There is a bit on how otherwise smart people can be stupid. It is a genuine research area in psychology, so one assumes it is not all that uncommon.

  • SteveMD2

    I happen to know who he is, since my daughter in law is a licensed clinical therapist

    This is the guy who turned much of his life around – he was originally sent to jail for murdering someone. But he got “straightened out and eventually went to medical school etc

    Unfortunately he still has a prison mentality about gay people- just hates them pure and simple..

    Dont let the doctor thing fool you – there are plenty of them who are nuts also. The best example was Dr. Mengele of nazi germany. Look him up on Wiki

  • SteveMD2


    BTW the psych term for him is “compartmentalization”

    An analogy would be someone who is perfectly nice whn the average person meets him but for money works for the mob as a hit man.

  • Merv

    If he rejects the existence of evolution, he’s no scientist. He’s a fraud. He should be rejected on those grounds alone. The anti-gay animus makes the decision doubly easy.

Comments are closed.