Presidential hopeful Dr Ben Carson says he wants to appoint a new “fruit salad” justice to overturn equal marriage.

Former Fox News pundit Dr Carson, who may or may not be asleep, made his comments during last night’s Republican debate.

The candidate, who has a history of anti-LGBT comments, was once seen as a rival to Donald Trump – but his campaign is now on ‘life support’ as he trails Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

He was asked about the Supreme Court vacancy last night after the death of ultra-conservative Justice Scalia earlier this month.

Dr Carson said: “As far as religious freedom is concerned, one of the basic tenets of this nation, and I believe that the Constitution protects all of our rights. And it gives people who believe in same-sex marriage the same rights as everybody else.

“But what we have to remember is even though everybody has the same rights, nobody get extra rights. So nobody gets to redefine things for everybody else and then have them have to conform to it. That’s unfair.

“And this is the responsibility of Congress to come back and correct what the Supreme Court has done.

“That’s why we have divided government. And we’re going to have to encourage them to act in an appropriate way, or we will lose our religious freedom.”

He added: “As president, I would go through and I would look at what a person’s life has been. What have they done in the past? What kind of judgments have they made?

“What kind of associations do they have? That will tell you a lot more than an interview will tell you.

“The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich was again the only Republican present to rule out action against LGBT equality.

He said: “In regard to same-sex marriage, I don’t favour it. I’ve always favored traditional marriage, but, look, the court has ruled and I’ve moved on. And what I’ve said… look, where does it end?

“If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced.

“I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behaviour.

“But when it comes to the religious institutions, they are in inviolate in my mind, and I would fight for those religious institutions.”

He added: “But let’s just not get so narrow here as to gotcha this or that. I think my position is clear.”