Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is stepping down as this year's commencement speaker at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
His decision came after students protested statements he made about same-sex marriage during an appearance on Fox News.
"Marriage is between a man and a woman," Carson said during the interview. "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."
Carson has been in the national spotlight after giving a speech critical of President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year.
In an email to the dean of the Johns Hopkins Medical School, Carson wrote he's concerned his speech would be a distraction to graduates.
"Given all the national media surrounding my statements as to my belief in traditional marriage, I believe it would be in the best interests of the students for me to voluntarily withdraw as your commencement speaker this year," the Baltimore Sun quoted Carson.
"Commencement is about the students and their successes, and it is not about me," Carson wrote. "I want to make certain that remains so."