Just a day after announcing his exploratory committee to decide whether or not to run for president in 2016, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson apologized for saying on CNN Wednesday that being gay is "absolutely" a choice because some people become gay in prison.
"In a recent interview on CNN, I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues," Carson wrote on Facebook. "I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended."
In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, the 63-year-old conservative was asked whether he felt that homosexuals had control over their behavior and whether they have the "choice" to be gay. Carson responded twice saying "absolutely" and provided gay prisoners who went into prison as straight as an example.
"Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they're gay," Carson contended. "So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."
After Cuomo rebutted Carson's comment, Carson then quipped, "I said a lot of people who go in, come out, are you denying that is true?"
"I am not denying that is true but I am denying that is the basis of understanding homosexuality," Cuomo said.
Carson faced quick backlash for his comments from critics who pointed to the view of the American Psychological Association and other medical groups who have ruled that sexuality is not a matter of choice.
In speaking with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, Carson proclaimed he will not be speaking on gay issues any longer, which is a clear indication that Carson cares about media coverage of his head-scratching comment as he examines the possibility of a presidential run.
"I simply have decided I'm not going to really talk about that issue anymore, because every time I gain momentum, the liberal press says, 'let's talk about gay rights.' I'm just not going to fall for that anymore," he said.
Although Carson issued an apology, his Facebook post still attempted to get Carson's main point across that it has not been proven that people are born gay.
"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," Carson asserted. "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."
Carson's apology also assured that he does believe in the constitutional rights of homosexuals and supports civil unions for same-sex couples.
"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," Carson wrote. "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."
"I also think that marriage is a religious institution," Carson continued. "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."
Carson, who has become notorious for other far-fetched remarks on politics and society, made it be known that he is "not a politician" but he is deeply sorry for his remarks. However, he admits that he is likely to "err" again.
"I am not a politician and I answered a question without really thinking about it thoroughly. No excuses," Carson wrote. "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."