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Johns Hopkins official criticizes Ben Carson's gay marriage remarks as 'hurtful, offensive'

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson continued his apology tour Friday for comments he made about gay marriage, which he likened to bestiality and pedophilia.

Carson’s latest apology came on the heels of a statement released by the university calling his comments “offensive.”

“Controversial social issues are debated in the media on a regular basis, and yet it is rare that leaders of an academic medical center will join that type of public debate,” Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Paul Rothman said in a written statement Friday. “However, we recognize that tension now exists in our community because hurtful, offensive language was used by our colleague, Dr. Ben Carson, when conveying a personal opinion. Dr. Carson’s comments are inconsistent with the culture of our institution.”

Carson, who issued a somewhat confusing apology earlier this week, sent a more complete one on Friday.  

It is unclear what steps – if any – the university will take against Carson.

“We have been carefully listening to the varied opinions expressed by members of our community in response to Dr. Carson’s comments,” Rothman said. “It is clear that the fundamental principle of freedom of expression has been placed in conflict with our core values of diversity, inclusion and respect. We are trying to thoughtfully work through these issues, and as part of that process, we will be meeting with graduating students on Monday."

In a email to "the Hopkins Community" first reported by New York magazine, Carson reaffirmed his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, but he regretted the negative attention his comments had brought to the university.

"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."