Ben Carson Withdraws as Johns Hopkins Commencement Speaker

The neurosurgeon's views on marriage equality outraged several students.

Posted: 04/11/2013 10:38 AM EDT

Ben Carson stepped down as commencement speaker for Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine Wednesday night after his offensive remarks on marriage equality drew outrage from students.

"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," he wrote in an email to the school's Dean Paul Rothman, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Opposition toward Carson came from eight members of the school's class of 2013, who created a petition describing Carson as "an inappropriate choice of speaker at a ceremony intended to celebrate the achievements of our class," according to Media Matters.

Carson, a neurosurgeon at the school, doesn't agree with gay marriage and expressed his harsh views on Fox News' Sean Hannity show in March. Carson has recently grown in popularity with conservatives after criticizing President Obama.

“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,” Carson said.

Last week, he issued an apology for his comments.

“As you know, I have been in the national news quite a bit recently and my 36 year association with Johns Hopkins has unfortunately dragged our institution into the spotlight as well. I am sorry for any embarrassment this has caused,” he said.

“But what really saddens me is that my poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology. Hurting others is diametrically opposed to who I am and what I believe.”

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(Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Jackie Robinson Foundation)

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