Ben Carson, Republican candidate for president, has made it unequivocally clear that he does not support the LGBTQ community.
His most recent remarks illustrate his embrace of the now repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in the military. On Saturday, he rhetorically asked why lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the military, “why do you have to go around flouting your sexuality?” He also favored banning transgender individuals from joining the military at all, saying, “When our men and women are out there fighting the enemy, the last thing that we need to be doing is saying what would it be like if we introduced several transgender people into this platoon. You know, give me a break. Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else.”
Returning to the days of DADT is not the step backwards Carson yearns for; he is also against marriage equality. In a bizarre interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Carson equated same sex marriage with pedophilia and bestiality, saying “Well my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter who they are, they don’t get to change the definition.” After a backlash, Carson did withdraw and clarify his comments, essentially, using the “slippery slope” argument, telling the New York Times that “the point was if you change the definition of marriage for one group, you’ll have to change it for the next group and the next group.” This supports what Carson wrote in 2012, where he believed the natural conclusion of this “slippery slope” is a “disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire.” Yes, marriage equality, in Carson’s view, is the catalyst that will lead to the collapse of the United States as a whole.
Carson also supports Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that grants immunity to businesses and organizations that decide to discriminate against LGBTQ on the basis of religious freedom. Regarding the infamous cake controversy, a case where bakers have denied wedding cakes to lesbian and gay couples, Carson, unsurprisingly, supports the bakers over the same sex couples.
Carson also believes that sexual orientation is “absolutely” a choice. He is undecided on whether same sex couples should be allowed to adopt children. It is clear, however, that he has decided that LGBTQ people should be relegated to a position as second class citizens.
Carson’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric feels like a bottomless well of ignorance and intolerance. While he told Wolf Blitzer of CNN back in March 2013, “I love gay people,” his continued campaign against the queer and transgender community demonstrates otherwise.
Gwen is a writer who has an education degree, a social work background, an extensive knowledge of vegetables, and a devotion to queer revolutionary politics. She lives deep in the woods of Maine with two dogs, a magnificent partner, and an ever-growing collection of plants.