Any hope for a moderate Republican presidential candidate appears to be fading, as two additional far-right hopefuls announced their bid for the White House in 2016 Monday.
Carly Fiorina's and Ben Carson's entries mark the introduction of the only woman and only African-American currently in the GOP field, but the candidates thus far are impressively uniform when it comes to their views on LGBT equality: Namely, that we shouldn't have it. Meet the two newest contenders below.
Carly Fiorina 'Understands' America
"Yes I am running for president," Fiorina said. "I think I'm the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works, I understand the world, who's in it, how the world works. I understand bureaucracies and that's what our federal government has become: a giant, bloated, corrupt, unaccountable bureaucracy."
But one thing Fiorina arguably doesn't understand is why same-sex couples want the Supreme Court to affirm their right to marry. In a February interview with the Christian Post, Fiorina speculated that a high court ruling establishing nationwide marriage equality would be disastrous.
"[Same-sex marriage] is an important conversation that is going on in homes, churches, and communities across the country," Fiorina said. "I think that the worst thing the Supreme Court can do right now is shortcut this conversation."
Amid the nationwide controversy over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Fiorina sided with Gov. Mike Pence — before he ceded to growing calls to amend the bill to "clarify" that it could not be used to discriminate against LGBT Hoosiers.
"Basically, what this law says is that someone can have a remedy against the federal government for imposing on their religious beliefs," Fiorina inaccurately stated. "It’s not in any company or particularly a technology company’s interest to discriminate in any way, and that's not what this law does. This law doesn’t condone discrimination. I guess what I wish is that everyone could cool off and look at the facts before they jump onto Twitter and condemn something that clearly there's a huge amount of misunderstanding about."
Back in 2010 the former tech CEO launched a U.S. Senate bid to unseat California Democrat Barbara Boxer, highlighting Fiorina's opposition to the (ultimately affirmed) federal court ruling that struck down California's antigay Proposition 8. Fiorina was unable to take Boxer's seat, leaving the longtime LGBT ally representing California until her current term ends — she announced earlier this year that this term would be her last.
Watch Fiorina's announcement on GMA below:
Carson's Campaign Concert
Meanwhile, retired neurosurgeon and right-wing darling Ben Carson took a much showier approach to his campaign announcement.
Carson announced his candidacy at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit, resulting in a campaign launch that the The Washington Post called "bizarre and glorious."
The former neurosurgeon took the stage after the Selected of God Choir performed a rendition of Eminem's "Lose Yourself." The track is now available on iTunes, and the choir's official music video has been viewed nearly 1 million times.
Carson's wife, Candy, led the auditorium in the National Anthem by playing on her violin, while the musical extravaganza closed with the choir returning to lead a sing-along of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with the Carsons front and center as a massive American flag descended to fill the background.
In his even-toned speech, the notoriously polarizing pundit promised that he won't tone down his rhetoric just because he's running for president.
"I'm probably never going to be politically correct because I'm not a politician," he told the crowd estimated to number in the thousands. "I don't want to be a politician. Because politicians do what is politically expedient — I want to do what's right."
But Carson's ideas about "what's right" often read more like "what's right-wing," characterized by Carson's initial rise to prominence following the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013 when he launched a rant against Obamacare and the national debt (while sitting just two seats away from the president).
But Carson also he has a long history of antigay rhetoric. In March, Carson infamously said that prisons are proof that people "choose" to be gay, and he has previously compared same-sex marriage to pedophilia, bestiality, and murder. That same month, he lauded Indiana's controversial RFRA as an "absolutely vital" effort to "denounce these acts of persecution" against religious people.
He caught heat in January for "joking" that same-sex couples shouldn't request cakes from antigay bakers because "they might put poison in that cake," then later said Congress should reprimand or remove federal judges who rule in favor of marriage equality.
Watch Carson's first campaign video below.