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Ben Carson Says He Made Comments About Prison And Being Gay "Without Really Thinking About It"

Many people "go into prison straight, and when they come out, they're gay," the neurosurgeon and potential Republican candidate for president argued on Wednesday. He later issued a clarification.

Last updated on March 5, 2015, at 6:33 a.m. ET

Posted on March 4, 2015, at 8:26 a.m. ET

Update, March 5: Carson added this message to his Facebook page, saying, "I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation."

Facebook: realbencarson
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Potential GOP presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said on CNN Wednesday that homosexuality is "absolutely" a choice because many people "go into prison straight, and when they come out, they're gay."

"So did something happen while they were in there?" Carson continued to host Chris Cuomo. "Ask yourself that question."

Carson and Cuomo discussed the issue of same-sex marriage, and Carson said civil issues should be determined at the state level, not federal.

When discussing changes made to the Constitution when slavery was abolished, Carson refused to compare the two issues.

"People have no control over their race," he said, adding that people have control of their sexuality.

Carson argued that it is possible to give a same-sex couple equal rights without defining their relationship as a marriage.

"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."

Watch the full interview:

View this video on YouTube

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.