The Slatest

Ben Carson Says Prison Sex Proves Being Gay Is a Choice

That didn’t take long. On Tuesday, Ben Carson announced his presidential exploratory committee. On Wednesday, in an appearance on CNN, he caused a firestorm by sharing his view that prison sex proves that homosexuality is a choice.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Carson about gay marriage and drew an analogy between laws that allowed slavery and laws that banned gay marriage. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has never run for public office, responded that the comparison was not apt because people have no control over their race, but they do over their sexuality.

“Because a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight and when they come out they are gay.”

Slate’s Mark Stern wrote about the “myriad elaborate biological factors at play” in determining orientation a year ago, pointing out, “Male sexuality … is clearly fixed from birth.” And the Washington Post quickly rounded up a few horrified experts. University of Tennessee professor Helen Eigenberg has studied the topic of prison sexuality throughout her career and put it succinctly: “The fundamental assumption of the analogy he’s using is insane.”