Sex columnist Dan Savage explained over the weekend that he challenged possible Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson to give him oral sex so he could make it clear "how low and disgusting" his comments about gay people were.
In a syndicated column published last week, Savage had fired back at Carson's assertion that being LGBT was a "choice" because people "come out gay" after going to prison.
“If being gay is a choice, prove it,” he wrote. “Choose it. Choose to be gay yourself. Show America how that’s done, Ben, show us how a man can choose to be gay. Suck my dick. Name the time and the place and I’ll bring my dick and a camera crew and you can suck me off and win the argument.”
Speaking to CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday, Savage said that politicians could no longer duck the issue of LGBT rights.
"Whenever someone says that being gay or lesbian is a choice, I always look at them and say, 'Prove it. Choose it,'" he remarked. "It's not a choice, and they know it's not a choice. And that's really not the argument that they're making."
"What religious conservatives and Republicans are really saying when they say that being gay is a choice is that gay or lesbian -- queer people -- shouldn't be covered by civil rights laws, we shouldn't be protected under the 14th Amendment, that the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to us because being gay is not an immutable characteristic, it's a choice that we've made."
But according to Savage, conservatives would not be entitled to religious freedom if they followed their own logic.
"There are constantly people trying to ask you to choose their faith, to change your faith, to take a different faith," he explained. "And religion is a covered, protected status under settled civil rights law. And it is a choice. Marital status, military service, also protected."
"So if religious conservatives are arguing that if something is a choice, like being gay -- which they would like to argue is a choice and it is not, therefore it doesn't deserve civil rights protections -- then they need to be consistent and argue and advocate for stripping away civil rights protection for people of faith."
Savage admitted that telling Carson to "suck my dick" was vile, but "sometimes you have to fight fire with fire."
"Rick Santorum and Ben Carson have compared gay people to child rapists, to people who have sex with animals, necrophilia," he reminded Stelter. "He really says the vilest and most disgusting things about gay people. And sometimes to get the attention of someone like that, to really make it clear to them how low and disgusting they're being, how vile they're being, you have to meet them on the field where they're doing battle and take them on."