Republican presidential candidates are having a tough time on the “Soapbox” at the Iowa State Fair this week.

A flustered Mitt Romney told an angry crowd Thursday that he wouldn’t raise taxes on big companies because “corporations are people.”

Tim Pawlenty took to the very same stage Friday where a gay man named Gabe confronted him about his stand against marriage equality.

“I want to address one concern of mine and this is you have not had the courage to stand for me and my friends,” Gabe told Pawlenty. “As a member of the GLBT community, you have not stood for us and that is really hard for me. As someone who supports the [anti-gay] National Organization for Marriage, someone that stands for the definition of marriage between one man and one woman, I thought our country was about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone. No exceptions. So, Tim Pawlenty, I want to know, when will you stand up for me?”

“That is what I want to know from you today because you are discriminating against me and it hurts. It really does.”

“I understand we have a difference of opinion on this issue,” Pawlenty replied. “The relationship between a man and a woman in a traditional marriage is important to our country, our society, our culture. I think it should remain elevated, not just in our words but under our laws. And that’s why I have supported laws — in fact, have authored laws — to maintain marriage as between a man and woman.”

“I support that you have your moral values,” Gabe said, not backing down. “But that is something that is hurting my future and how I get to live my life. And that is something that someone that talks about government getting out of your lives, why does government get involved in our marriages?”

“We’re just going to have a respectful disagreement,” the candidate said.

“Do you think I’m a second class citizen?” Gabe asked.

“We’re just going to have a respectful disagreement, sir,” Pawlenty repeated.

Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast Aug. 12, 2011.


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