Amid controversy over comments comparing gay marriage to bestiality and pedophilia, conservative rising star Dr. Ben Carson announced Thursday that he will not speak at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine commencement ceremony this spring.
"Given all the national media surrounding my statements as to my belief in traditional marriage, I believe it would be in the best interest of the students for me to voluntarily withdraw as your commencement speaker this year," Carson wrote in the letter to Johns Hopkins Dean Paul Rothman.
Carson's comments on marriage equality last month, widely viewed as anti-gay, sparked outrage from Johns Hopkins students and faculty, who protested his role as commencement speaker. Carson, who heads the department of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, told FOX News host Sean Hannity while the Supreme Court considered DOMA and Prop 8, “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 what they are–they don’t get to change the definition.”
In an interview with Andrea Mitchell on March 29, Carson indicated he would step down as commencement speaker.
Asked, "Are you prepared to withdraw as commencement speaker?" by Mitchell, Carson replied:
"Absolutely. I would say this is their day. And the last thing I would want to do is rain on their parade."
Watch Andrea Mitchell's interview with Dr. Ben Carson below: