Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and presidential candidate, has made a lot of waves in television interviews over the past few months. He got aggravated in March, in a CNN interview, when Chris Cuomo was comparing gay rights issues of today to those of the civil rights movement in the sixties. Now he has made the news again, asking Fox News host Brett Baier an interesting question while trying to make his apologies for his earlier irritation. Read the article I read on the subject here. I’d like to respond to both situations.
Carson stated in his apology, “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,'”. While that is true, gay people may not have had segregated drinking fountains as was the case between black and white Americans in the sixties, there has been an equal number of injustices infringed upon gay people. There hasn’t been any “segregation” per se, but there has been a lot of discrimination, hate crimes, name calling, and laws passed preventing homosexual people the right to the same privileges as heterosexual people.
He said he didn’t believe that the fight for gay marriage was the same because being gay was a choice, in his opinion. He believes so because “straight people come out of prison gay”. While I will concede that there is no choice in one’s ethnicity, there is not one in one’s sexual orientation either. The only “choice” in the matter is if you choose to publicly tell people. I don’t know a lot of people that have come out of prison, but the few I do know went in with and came out with the same sexual orientation.
His theories on homosexuality are a bit skewed. While we (homosexuals) are not fighting the exact same fight as the civil rights movement in the sixties, we are fighting for our civil rights in a new updated 2015 version. It’s like comparing red apples and green apples, they are different, but in the same family.
In his apology interview, he poses 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.”
The answer is a complicated one, but I’m going to attempt it. The position I feel would be best for you, Dr. Carson, is to step back and look at the bigger picture. While I respect your belief in a “traditional marriage”, the sanctity of one marriage in no impacts another. How are two people that love one another going to go against the beliefs you have? Take gay people out of the equation all together, does the married couple down the street from you impact your marriage? What if I tell you that he drinks too much and beats his wife every night until he passes out, does that go against your beliefs? What about Elizabeth Taylor’s last marriage (for a famous example), did knowing she had been married and divorced seven times prior, in any way affect your beliefs? What about a random couple in, say Connecticut, the are a straight married couple that have a loving marriage and equal partnership, but they are unable to conceive a child on their own. Does their marriage go against your beliefs since many people feel (not speaking for you) that the purpose of marriage is to procreate? Did Britney Spears’s 55 hour marriage, or Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage go against your beliefs? Obviously, you meant you believe in a “one man, one woman” marriage, but does an unhealthy, unhappy marriage affect your views at all?
But a short answer, though not a politically correct answer, to your question is this: While I think it’s great you say you have no animosity towards gay people, the fact you still don’t want to afford them the privilege marriage proves you do hold some animosity. The position you should take on the matter is a simple one, don’t worry about everyone else’s marriage. The only marriage any one person should worry about, is the one they are in.
Let me pose a question to you. What gives any one person, presidential hopeful or not, the right to decide the civil rights of anyone else based on their own beliefs? The beliefs of one do not reflect the beliefs of the millions of people in this country, and no one person should have the authority to make decisions for others based on their own personal choices and beliefs.