Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson speaks during a campaign stop at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market, May 26, 2015 in Mt Pleasant, S.C. 
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

Ben Carson doesn’t want to talk about ‘the gay issue’

Dr. Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and conservative candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is sick and tired of discussing “the gay issue.”

During an appearance Wednesday on CNN, Carson brushed aside questions regarding discrimination against the LGBT community, arguing that there are “more important” subjects worth delving into.

“I don’t really want to talk about the gay issue,” Carson told CNN’s Brianna Keilar. “Except maybe you can get the answer for this question: ‘What position can a person take who has no animosity toward gay people, but believes in the traditional definition of marriage that would be acceptable?’”

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“I think the Constitution protects every single American,” he added. “Everybody has equal rights, nobody has extra rights.”

Carson has a history of making incendiary remarks about the LGBT community. Earlier on Wednesday, he told Fox News’ Bret Baier that he gets “irritated” when people equate gay rights with equal rights. In March, he was widely ridiculed for suggesting that men who enter prison straight can “come out” gay, while insisting that homosexuality is a choice.

Although Carson eventually walked back those remarks, he has consistently sparked controversy with his off-the-cuff musings about the sex lives of LGBT people. Earlier this year, he even suggested that bakers might poison wedding cakes if they were forced to make them for same-sex couples.

In 2013, after he publicly compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia, Carson was forced to withdraw from a planned commencement speech at his alma mater, John Hopkins University.

“Someday in the future, it is my hope and prayer that the emphasis on political correctness will decrease and we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone,” Carson said at the time.

On Wednesday on CNN, Carson said that “Every group faces some type of discrimination,” adding, “Christians face a lot of discrimination. I wish we would talk more about that.”