Ben Carson told Fox News he was "irritated" by CNN's comparison of the fight for same-sex marriage rights and the civil rights movement, because, he says, there never has been overt segregation of gays.
The GOP presidential contender told Fox's Bret Baier that he "shouldn't have allowed my emotions" into the conversation with CNN host Chris Cuomo back in March.
"I was a little bit irritated that he was equating the whole [gay marriage] issue with the Civil Rights movement. Because, quite frankly, I didn't remember any times when there were signs up that says, you know, 'everybody else here and gay people have to drink at this fountain,'" said Carson.
"I was a little irritated, but I shouldn't have allowed that to enter into the discussion," Carson explained.
During the CNN interview, Cuomo asked Carson about his assertion that the marriage issue should be left up to the states to decide, and compared anti-LGBT laws to those enacted by the states to segregate blacks.
"What if people of a state vote for a law, 100 to zero, that winds up infringing on the rights of a minority -- like happened very often with slavery? Like many would argue is happening now with people who are gay?" asked Cuomo during the March sit-down.
"The Constitution was followed and we corrected those things," Carson said, in the case of racial segregation.
The case with same-sex marriage was different, he said, because to him, being gay is a choice. He explained to Cuomo he knows it's a choice, because some straight people come out of prison gay -- a remark that sparked a firestorm of criticism. Eventually Carson apologized for the comments, admitting his words were "hurtful and divisive."
In sitting down with Baier to discuss his candidacy, Carson revealed he has been awaiting an answer to a question.
"I would love for the gay community to answer this question for me: what position can a person take who has absolutely no animosity toward gay people but believes in traditional marriage that would be satisfactory to them? Very happy to compromise but I haven't heard an answer to that yet."
Carson told Beier he's satisfied to have confounded those he said were trying to force him out of the race, suggesting that was CNN's reason for inviting him to be a guest.
"They saw that as the opportunity to finally knock this guy out -- and they thought that they had done it. Stick a fork in him, he's gone. They were jubilant. And now they're saying, I can't believe this guy's still here, are you kidding me?"
Carson finished in seventh place in a CNN/ORC poll of the GOP presidential field conducted late last month, with support from 7 percent of those polled.
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