Washington (CNN)—Ben Carson said Wednesday night that he was "irritated" by the comparison between the fight for same-sex marriage rights and the Civil Rights Movement because there's no overt segregation against gays.
Speaking on Fox News' "Special Report", Carson elaborated on his remarks on CNN in March that he believes being gay is a choice because people "go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay."
The GOP presidential contender told host Brett Baier that he "shouldn't have allowed my emotions" into the conversation, but was reacting to CNN host Chris Cuomo's line of questioning on the issue.
"I was a little bit irritated that he was equating the whole [gay marriage] issue with the Civil Rights movement. Because, quite frankly, I didn't remember any times when there were signs up that says, you know, 'everybody else here and gay people have to drink at this fountain,'"
"I was a little irritated, but I shouldn't have allowed that to enter into the discussion," Carson said.
During his March interview on "New Day," Cuomo had pressed Carson on his assertion that the marriage issue should be left up to the states to decide, drawing a comparison to segregation against blacks.
What if people of a state vote for a law, 100 to zero, that winds up infringing on the rights of a minority -- like happened very often with slavery? Like many would argue is happening now with people who are gay?" Cuomo asked.
Carson replied that "the Constitution was followed and we corrected those things" in the case of segregation against blacks, but suggested the case with gay marriage was different because being gay is a choice. His subsequent line of reasoning -- that it's a choice because some people come out of prison gay -- sparked a firestorm of criticism and eventually Carson apologized for the comments, admitting his words were "hurtful and divisive."
But on Wednesday night, Carson expressed satisfaction with how the controversy played out.
They saw that as the opportunity to finally knock this guy out -- and they thought that they had done it. Stick a fork in him, he's gone. They were jubilant," he said of critics. "And now they're saying, I can't believe this guy's still here, are you kidding me?"
Carson came in seventh place in a late May CNN/ORC survey of the GOP presidential field, taking 7% support.