Carson at GOP Debate: Belief in Traditional Marriage Isn't Homophobia

Ben Carson
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. |

Dr. Ben Carson was hit with some tough questioning in Wednesday's presidential debate that led him to address his opposition to gay marriage.

The 64-year-old retired neurosurgeon was asked by CNBC's Carl Quintanilla about his role as a board member of Costco, one of the world's largest warehouse retail stores. The moderator pointed out that a marketing study found Costco to be No. 1 "gay-friendly" brand in America, as it extends benefits to same-sex spouses.

Carson was asked how he could be on the board of a company that has an employment policy that counters his own Seventh-day Adventist view on homosexuality.

Carson explained that a person can believe in marriage as being defined as a union between only one and and one woman and also treat the gay community with equality at the same time.

"Well obviously, you don't understand my views on homosexuality. I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect," Carson said. "I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. There is no reason that you can't be perfectly fair to the gay community. They shouldn't automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, that you are a homophobe."

Republican U.S. presidential candidates
Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) Governor John Kasich, former Governor Mike Huckabee, former Governor Jeb Bush, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, businessman Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Chris Christie and U.S. Rep. Rand Paul pose before the start of the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. |

Carson then slammed the left for furthering the notion that those who believe in traditional marriage are nothing but bigots and homophobes.

"This is one of the myths perpetrated on our society, and this is how they are fighting people and get people to shut up," Carson argued. "That's what the PC culture is all about and it's destroying this nation."

"The fact of the matter is, we, the American people, are not each other's enemies," Carson continued. "It's the people who are trying to divide us who are the enemies, and we need to make that very clear to everybody."

Quintanilla then questioned Carson on his 10-year relationship with Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, which had claimed that it could cure autism and cancer.

Quintanilla then pointed out that Mannatech even had to pay $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas. Even through the deceptive marketing scandal, Quintanilla wondered why Carson's involvement with Mannatech continued.

"That's easy to answer. I didn't have an involvement with them, that is total propaganda," Carson asserted. "This is what happens in our society — total propaganda. I did a couple of speeches for them. I did speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it is a good product."

Quintanilla responded by asking Carson why he was even featured on the company's homepage with its logo over his shoulder.

"If someone put me on their homepage, did they did it without my permission," Carson assured.

Quintanilla then asked if Carson's not knowing that he was on the homepage is indicative of poor judgement and vetting, which drew gasps and some boos from the Boulder, Colorado crowd.

"No it speaks to the … see, they know," Carson quipped about the crowd's reaction to Quintanilla's question, followed by laughs and cheers and a segue to commercial break.

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