Does prison sex prove that sexual orientation is a choice? Given that much of what constitutes “sex” in prison occurs under some sort of duress, using it as an example of “choice” seems like … a stretch, to say the least. Dr. Ben Carson, who just announced the formation of a presidential exploration committee, defended the traditional definition of marriage in an interview this morning with CNN’s Chris Cuomo by relying on that argument to differentiate same-sex marriage advocacy from the civil rights movement (via Twitchy):

Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and potential Republican presidential candidate, said Wednesday that “a lot of people who go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay.”

The remarks were made on CNN’s “New Day” in response to a question from host Chris Cuomo, who asked if Carson thought being gay was a “choice.”

“Absolutely,” Carson replied.

Asked why, he went on to explain his prison theory. “So did something happen while they were in there?” he said. “Ask yourself that question.”

Actually, please don’t. It’s entirely possible to defend the traditional definition of marriage and even the position that sexuality is a choice without citing prison sex as an indicator. Even some in the LGBT community see sexuality as a choice rather than innate, and the real answer probably lies somewhere in between — and individually, all over that range.

This is the kind of answer that makes it pretty clear that Carson’s winging it. There are plenty of ways to defend the traditional definition of marriage, perhaps especially as protection for children in procreative relationships, which is really the only real stake the state has in regulating interpersonal relationships between consenting and non-consanguinal adults anyway. Non-procreative relationships can acquire most if not all of the legal benefits of marriage through partnership contracts. The real free-market solution is to get government out of marriage altogether and let the churches define it for their congregants and have everyone rely on contracts, which government is actually suited to enforce.

This argument only serves as fodder for those who want to Akinize the whole Republican Party. If Dr. Carson wants to compete at the highest level, he’ll need to either learn the issues a lot better, or learn how to parry the obvious media attempts to make him look like a nut from the fringe. And don’t think for a moment that the media will refrain from painting all Republican presidential contenders as nuts for this, either. They will be looking for a distraction from Hillary Clinton’s meltdown, and this might do nicely for a cycle or two. Want to bet this comes up in a primary debate?