IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Ben Carson: I don't think many people discriminate

Dr. Ben Carson responded to criticism of religious freedom laws by saying that discrimination is no longer much of an issue.

Dr. Ben Carson thinks discrimination against gays and lesbians is basically a thing of the past.

In a teleforum Tuesday night, the retired neurosurgeon and potential 2016 presidential hopeful spoke out on the Indiana religious freedom law that critics say legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“Unfortunately, we’ve reached the place in our society where we try to read too much into everything,” Carson said. “I don’t think there are very many people who are still left who would [discriminate] against people who came into a restaurant.”

RELATED: Carson presidential announcement coming in early May

Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence — another potential 2016 candidate — signed a religious freedom bill into law last week, prompting widespread outrage from critics who say the law paves the way for people to discriminate against gays and lesbians on the basis of religion, particularly because the state does not include LGBT people as a protected class of individuals. The governor pushed back, saying the law wasn’t a license to discriminate and vowing legislation to clarify the law. 

However, several Indiana businesses have already reportedly said they’d discriminate against gay customers. In Walkerton, Indiana, the family that owns Memories Pizza said they wouldn’t sell pizzas to a same-sex couple for their wedding, though they wouldn’t discriminate against the couple if they came into the restaurant at another date. Another anonymous business owner called in to a radio show to say he’d discriminated against gay customers in the past and would do so again, armed with the law.  

RELATED: 2016 wild card Dr. Ben Carson takes the stage

Gay couples around the country have also gone to court — and won — in discrimination suits. Examples include a bakery in Oregon and a florist in Washington state that both refused to provide goods for two separate weddings for same-sex couples.

Carson has a long history of inflammatory comments on gay and lesbian rights, 

Earlier this month, he argued that being gay was a choice because some people "chose" to be gay in prison — seemingly referring to prison rape — and he later apologized. Carson has previously compared homosexuality to beastiality and pedophilia.