Dr. Ben Carson doesn't need me, or anyone else for that matter, to defend him ("Dr. Ben Carson steps down as speaker at Hopkins graduation," April 11). His decision to withdraw as the commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins University was just another manifestation of his integrity. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for those, including Medical School Dean Dr. Paul Rothman and the graduating students, who feel Dr. Carson went beyond the pale in his recent remarks about marriage.

How dare he express his unequivocal, unvarnished, un-sanitized view that "marriage is between a man and a woman," and that no group " gets to change the definition." His most egregious transgression, according to the critics, was his reference to NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association), and bestiality. An unfortunate choice of words? Perhaps. But it's how he feels. And for this remarkable man, this career lifesaver of international repute, to be judged, convicted, and pilloried based on one phrase — a phrase, incidentally, that was in no way mean-spirited or spiteful — is nothing short of criminal.

Johns Hopkins spokeswoman Kim Hoppe says the university is now searching for a new speaker. Whoever is eventually chosen will suffer by comparison.

Alan Walden, Baltimore

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts