(CNN) – Dr. Ben Carson, the conservative neurosurgeon who has rocketed into the political spotlight this year, withdrew from another speaking engagement Friday after stepping down as this year’s commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins medical school.
The LGBT caucus within the American Academy of Physicians Assistants, which had started a petition to protest Carson's upcoming May keynote speech at the organization's conference, said Carson had withdrawn his participation.
Outcry was sparked in March when Carson equated homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality during a television interview centered on same-sex marriage.
"[Marriage] is a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [pedophilia], be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition," he said on Fox News.
“Dr. Carson's remarks perpetuate bias, discrimination, and stigma that are not representative of the ethics and values of the Physician Assistant profession,” the LGBT caucus of AAPA wrote in a statement Friday.
Earlier this week, Carson wrote a letter to the dean of Johns Hopkins medical school withdrawing from his commencement speakership, saying his appearance would be a distraction for graduates and their families.
But he also decried what he called an overemphasis on “political correctness,” saying he hoped in the future “we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone.”