Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Friday that Congress had failed to block the Supreme Court's ruling striking down gay marriage bans nationwide as it relates to religious objectors.

The former neurosurgeon turned Christian celebrity made his comments at the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa. Seven Republican presidential candidates attended the event, which took place at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Event co-sponsors included The Family Leader Foundation, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Alliance for Defending Freedom.

Carson said that America's system of checks and balances had failed because Congress had “checked out” on the issue as it relates to protecting the rights of Christians who oppose marriage equality.

The U.S. Constitution provides for equal rights, Carson said, not “extra rights,” which he defined as getting to “redefine everything for everybody else and impact upon their lives.”

“This separation of the powers, checks and balances is one of the fundamental things that makes our government work. And what has happened, particularly with the Supreme Court judgment that we're talking about, is that one of the branches … has checked out,” Carson said.

“We should have had a law already in place to protect the religious liberty of people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They should have known that that was coming. It's still not too late. They have a responsibility to weigh in now and check the Supreme Court, because if we don't do that they will just continue down the same road,” he added.

Other candidates who appeared at the forum included Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Cruz told those attending that out actress Ellen Page attacked him with accusations of hating gays while grilling pork chops at the Iowa State Fair, while Rubio said that marriage equality was not about discrimination.

(Related: Marco Rubio: Gay marriage is not about discrimination.)