The following is a statement from the Human Rights Campaign’s Fred Sainz in reaction to the latest anti-LGBT rhetoric from retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Carson’s history of anti-LGBT rhetoric includes comparing same-sex marriage to NAMBLA and bestiality.
“The only thing that’s really been proven here is that when Ben Carson says what he really thinks, he reveals himself as utterly unfit for office," said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Communications. "Ben Carson is putting his own personal ambition ahead of medical science by suggesting that a person can change their sexual orientation. As a doctor, Carson surely knows that countless mental health and medical organizations have condemned the idea that you can change a person’s sexual orientation.”
Carson’s suggestion that an individual's sexual orientation is choice is pushed by many right-wing religious groups in order to promote the concept of dangerous "reparative" or "conversion" therapy, a practice that has been outlawed in several states, including New Jersey and California. There is significant evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation, and major medical and mental health organization in the United States have issued a statement condemning the use of reparative therapy.
The Human Rights Campaign recently released “2016: Republican Facts” a site highlighting the public statements of potential Republican candidates on key issues. The site covers support for marriage equality, support for non-discrimination bills, opposition to dangerous conversion therapy, history of harmful rhetoric, and support for the right of LGBT Americans to adopt. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for example, has said that sexual orientation is determined at birth. Christie also signed a bill that banned dangerous “conversion therapy” in New Jersey. For more on the 2016 presidential campaign, click here.