Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who's lately become a conservative hero, is now backtracking, sort of, on the comments he made against marriage equality earlier this week.
Interviewed by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Friday, he attempted to explain his statement to Fox News personality Sean Hannity Tuesday that marriage is "a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality" gets "to change the definition." NAMBLA, by the way, is the North American Man/Boy Love Association, a group endorsing pedophilia.
When Mitchell asked him about those remarks, Carson said, "As a Christian, I have a duty to love all people and that includes people who have other sexual orientations, and I certainly do, and never had any intention of offending anyone. What I was basically saying, and if anyone was offended I apologize to you, but what I was basically saying is there is no group -- I wasn't equating those things. I don't think they are equal."
He also said he doesn't object to "legal arrangements" for same-sex couples or any pair of adults to take care of each other, but he said marriage "is an institution established by God" and therefore should not be changed.
Some students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where Carson is on the faculty, have started a campaign to have him removed as commencement speaker. Carson told Mitchell he is considering withdrawing, but made no commitment.
Carson has become a celebrity among right-wingers with his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, in which he criticized President Obama's health care reform policies, and his appearance this month at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Watch video of Carson's interviews with Mitchell and Hannity below.