Dr. Ben Carson, the Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon and rising Republican star, announced Wednesday that he will no longer be speaking at the commencement for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine after making some inflammatory comments about gay marriage. On a Fox News appearance, Carson compared gay marriage to bestiality and pedophilia.

Dean Paul Rothman shared Carson's email with the school:

"Given all the national media surrounding my statements as to my belief in traditional marriage, I believe it would be in the best interest of the students for me to voluntarily withdraw as your commencement speaker this year."

After Carson said that "no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality" has the power to change the definition of marriage, students at JHU protested his choice as commencement speaker. Even though he apologized in an email last week, noting that his "36-year association with Johns Hopkins has unfortunately dragged our institution into the spotlight as well" students still demanded he step down.

Carson has long been recognized as a prominent neurosurgeon and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In more recent days, he had been a celebrated conservative, especially after he confronted President Obama directly at a National Prayer Breakfast in February.

[The Huffington Post | Media Matters, image via AP]