Dr. Ben Carson, renowned neurosurgeon and potential Republican candidate, recently said homosexuality is a choice, arguing that some people go into prison straight and come out gay.
Carson's comments were made on Wednesday in response to CNN's Chris Cuomo's implication that denying same-sex couples a marriage license is akin to racism.
"It's not the same situation," Carson responded, "because people have no control over their race, for instance."
When asked if he believes being gay is a choice, the 63 year old doctor responded, "Absolutely."
He added, "Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."
Carson also said that each state should be able to decide what marriage is for residents of that region, and argued it's possible to grant the legal rights that accompany marriage to same-sex couples without applying the word "marriage" to their relationships.
"Why do gay people want to get married? Why do they say they want to get married? Because they want to have various rights -- property rights, visitation rights," he said. "Why can't any two human beings, I don't care what their sexual orientation is, why can't they have the legal right to do those things? That does not require changing the definition of marriage."
This is not the first time Dr. Carson has publically spoken out against homosexuality; in 2013, he came under fire after comparing gay marriage to pedophilia and bestiality in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
"It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association), be they people who believe in bestiality," he said. "It doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition."
After the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled him an "extremist" for his views, Dr. Carson issued a statement clarifying his previous statement and calling for "true tolerance."
"When embracing traditional Christian values is equated to hatred, we are approaching the stage where wrong is called right and right is called wrong," said Carson.
"That means being respectful of those with whom we disagree and allowing people to live according to their values without harassment. It is nothing but projectionism when some groups label those who disagree with them as haters."
In November, Dr. Carson announced he may run in the 2016 Presidential election, and on Wednesday formed an exploratory committee, which will allow him to begin raising money for a White House bid.
"Obviously, this is a very big step," committee chairman Terry Giles told The Associated Press. "Today we begin the formal process of exploring whether or not Ben can win the presidency."
Carson has said in the past that he will leave his political ambitions "up to God," but his supporters, mainly comprised of Christian conservatives, are actively working to ensure he has a strongly run campaign through an unaffiliated political action committee called "The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee."
Since the committee's founding in August of 2013, it has raised over $10.5 million, which is an "impressive donation figure for unaffiliated PAC," writes the AP.
"Dr. Carson's mission shines a light on the long forgotten roots of freedom," reads a statement on the organization's website.
"He will be that person who can awaken in Americans a better understanding of why adherence to our Constitution has historically allowed for greater freedom, opportunity and prosperity than any other kind of government has ever provided."