Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and failed presidential candidate known for his anti-LGBT views, let his prejudice show today during the confirmation hearing on his nomination for secretary of Housing and Urban Development, saying he opposes “extra rights” for LGBT people.
In the hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said to Carson, “You have in the past raised questions about whether LGBTQ people should enjoy the same rights as everyone else. Do you believe that HUD has a duty to take actions that promote equal access to housing opportunities for LGBTQ people?”
Carson responded, “Of course I would enforce all the laws of the land, and I believe that all Americans, regardless of any of the things you mentioned, should be protected by the law. What I have mentioned in the past is that no one gets extra rights. Extra rights means you get to redefine everything for everybody else.”
Brown replied that wasn’t what he was asking about, but he was glad to hear Carson say he would uphold the law going forward.
Carson has made many similar statements in the past, such as saying transgender people are “abnormal” and don’t deserve “extra rights,” such as being allowed to use the public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. He has also characterized same-sex couples’ right to marry as an “extra right.”
“When we start trying to impose the extra rights based on a few people who perhaps are abnormal, where does that lead?” he said in a January 2016 interview.
Carson has contended that the president has the right to ignore Supreme Court rulings, such as the marriage equality ruling, and has also said businesses and even government employees should have the legal right to refuse service to people who offend their religious beliefs. And he once infamously said that same-sex couples shouldn’t try to force a disapproving baker to make their wedding cake, as the baker might poison it. He subsequently claimed that was a joke.
Carson and Donald Trump often clashed during the Republican presidential primary season, but after Carson dropped out of the race, he endorsed Trump, and after Trump won the presidency, he nominated Carson to head HUD, despite the retired doctor’s lack of experience in this area and stated opposition to public housing programs.
Although there is not yet a federal law banning anti-LGBT discrimination, HUD does have a rule mandating equal access to all of its programs regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and Carson will be responsible for enforcing that.
Watch Carson’s exchange with Brown below, courtesy of The New Civil Rights Movement.