Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon Ben Carson apologized on Friday for the nature of his infamous remarks likening the LGBT community to pedophiles, while refusing to change his position on the subject, New York Magazine reported.
“There are many lessons to be learned when venturing into the political world and this is one I will not forget,” Carson said in a letter to the university “community.” “Although I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman, there are much less offensive ways to make that point. I hope all will look at a lifetime of service over some poorly chosen words.”
The apology was released minutes after the dean of the school’s medical faculty, Paul Rothman, slammed Carson in an email of his own.
“Controversial social issues are debated in the media on a regular basis, and yet it is rare that leaders of an academic medical center will join that type of public debate,” Rothman said in his message. “However, we recognize that tension now exists in our community because hurtful, offensive language was used by our colleague, Dr. Ben Carson, when conveying a personal opinion. Dr. Carson’s comments are inconsistent with the culture of our institution.”
The furor surrounding Carson, who has become a favorite in conservative circles, began after a March 26, 2013 interview in which he opposed granting same-sex couples the right to marry because it constituted a re-definition of marriage that “no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality” had the right to pursue.
In response, students at the Johns Hopkins school of medicine organized a petition calling for Carson to be removed as the school’s commencement speaker.
Carson himself has veered between tone in his remarks following the initial incident, going from apologetically suggesting he would give up the speaking engagement to accusing white liberals of wanting to keep him “on the plantation” within a week before returning to a more contrite tone on Friday.
“I am sorry for any embarrassment this has caused,” he said in his email. “But what really saddens me is that my poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology. Hurting others is diametrically opposed to who I am and what I believe.”