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Dr. Ben Carson Withdraws As Hopkins Commencement Speaker

BALTIMORE (WJZ)  -- Amid a firestorm of controversy, outspoken neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson announces he will not give the commencement speech at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Christie Ileto explains there are a lot of concerns and opinions about his decision.

Carson is no stranger to making national headlines for his comments, but his latest choice of words have garnered a lot of attention. So much so, he's decided to step aside as commencement speaker for Hopkins. It's a decision many students and staff say they support.

Baltimore's most famous and outspoken doctor is now shying away from the spotlight, following backlash from some controversial comments he made on Fox News about same-sex marriage last month.

"Marriage is between a man and a woman," said Carson. "No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition."

In a letter obtained by WJZ Thursday, Dr. Ben Carson tells the School of Medicine dean:

"Given the national media attention, I believe it would be in the best interests of students for me to voluntarily withdraw as your commencement speaker."

Carson is not shy about his politics, speaking out against the president's policies at a prayer breakfast earlier this year, being courted by conservatives and for joking with audiences about a bid for president.

"Let's say you magically put me into the White House," he said.

But the fallout from his latest remark is all the buzz on campus.

"That was a little unfortunate I think, because he's a really well-respected person but he happened to make a pretty misguided statement," said Lucy Gao, Hopkins student.

Many people in the School of Medicine's community that we spoke with agree with Carson's decision.

"He's made a good decision for himself and trying to keep controversy out of it," said Dacia Balch, Hopkins staff.

"If he has future aspirations for other things, I think it was probably a good idea to step aside," said Stephen Demario.

And prevent what Carson tells his colleagues would be:

"A distraction of the celebratory nature of the day."

Neither Carson, nor the school wished to comment Thursday, but we are told it was purely his decision to step aside.

The school is working to find a new commencement speaker.

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