Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was asked by a gay, lifelong Republican on live TV this morning what the proponent of religious freedom bills would do to protect the voter and his husband.
Cruz was answering questions in a Good Morning America townhall when Todd Calogne, a pizza shop owner in New York City who got married two years ago, brought up “a lot of religious freedom laws and somewhat institutionalized discrimination laws happening around the country.”
“What would you as president do to protect me and my husband from that institutionalized discrimination?” Calogne asked.
“Well, listen, when it comes to religious liberty, religious liberty is something that protects every one of us. It’s… the very first amendment, very first phrase protected in the first amendment of the bill of rights. And religious liberty, it applies to Christians, it applies to Jews, it applies to Muslims, it applies to atheists,” Cruz replied.
“And all of us, we want to live in a world where we don’t have the government dictating our beliefs, dictating how we live. We have a right to live according to our faith, according to our conscience. And that freedom ultimately protects each and every one of us.”
Cruz added that “we shouldn’t have the right to force others to not go under and give up their faith and give up their belief.”
“And for me, I mean, I have spent my entire adult life fighting to defend religious liberty. Fighting to defend the freedom of every one of us to seek out and worship God. And I think keeping government out of your way of your lives protects the freedom of every one of us,” he said.
Cruz was asked by host George Stephanopoulos about the constitutional amendment supported by the senator to counter the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, and what that would mean for the marriage of the voter asking the question.
Cruz said it should be up to the states.
“Even if you happen to agree with that particular decision, why would you want to hand over every important public policy issue to five unelected lawyers who aren’t accountable to you, who don’t work for you?” the senator said, adding that he would “expect” voters in different states to weigh in differently on gay marriage.
“We would expect the people of New York to adopt different laws, perhaps than the people of California, or Texas or Florida,” Cruz said. “And that’s the great thing about a big, diverse country, is that we can have different laws that respect different values.”
Calogne later told CNN that he wasn’t satisfied with Cruz’s answer and, though undecided, he’s leaning toward Donald Trump by process of elimination because he doesn’t think Ohio Gov. John Kasich can win the nomination.