NEW YORK -- A devoutly Christian Republican has warned that Christian bakers could poison cakes made for same-sex marriages.
Dr. Ben Carson, a Tea Party spokesman who is expected to launch a campaign to become the Republican candidate for the 2016 election, made the bizarre suggestion over the weekend.
Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, a convention that acts as an audition for any Republican presidential hopeful, the former neurosurgeon, who opposes same-sex marriage, complained about citizens forced to act in conflict with their beliefs out of fear that they might be branded discriminatory.
"So they can go right down the street and buy a cake, but no, let's bring a suit against this person because I want them to make my cake even though they don't believe in it,” he told reporters. “Which is really not all that smart because they might put poison in that cake."
Incredibly, weddings cakes have become one of the focal issues in the fight for equal rights for the LGBT community in the United States. Some bakers and bakery owners that have refused to make cakes for same-sex couples have face legal censure for discrimination.
In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins were refused service by a Christian baker in Colorado because of his opposition to same-sex marriage. The following year, a judge ruled that shop owner Jack Phillips had to serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs.
Phillips later told Fox News: "If it came to that point, we would close down the bakery before we would compromise our beliefs, so that may be what it comes to".
Carson has some form on this issue. In March 2013, Fox News asked him for his views on this issue of same-sex marriage. He said: "Marriage is between a man and a woman. 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."
Comparing gay marriage to bestiality garnered a huge outcry, and the doctor has since tried to temper his remarks. Before his poisoning quip in Iowa, Carson said: "I believe in justice and fairness for everybody. And I don't care what people's sexual orientation is. If two adults want to be together, I'm not going to stop them from being together. If they even want to have a legal contract so they can share property and have visitation rights, I don't have a problem with that.”
However, the 63-year-old’s repeated gaffes make him a long shot for the Republican nomination. In 2013, Carson attacked the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as the worst thing “since slavery”.