A gay “lifelong Republican” asked Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Monday how he would fight to protect the rights of his family from so-called “religious liberty” laws that allow for discrimination against LGBT people.
“I’ve noticed a lot of religious freedom laws and somewhat institutionalized discrimination laws happening around the country,” restaurant owner Todd Calogne explained to Cruz during a forum on ABC’s Good Morning America. “What would you as president do to protect me and my husband?”
Cruz suggested that Calogne had no reason to worry because “religious liberty is something that protects everyone of us.”
“Religious liberty, it applies to Jews, it applies to Christians, it applies to Muslims, it applies to atheists,” Cruz said. “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 we shouldn’t have a right to force others to give up their faith and give up their belief,” the Texas senator insisted. “And I think that keeping government out of the way of your lives protects the freedom of every one of us.”
But ABC host Robin Roberts, who came out as a lesbian in 2014, was not satisfied with the candidate’s answer.
“A lot of people would say, doesn’t everyone have the freedom to be treated equally?” she asked. “Don’t we all have the freedom to be equal?”
“Of course we do,” Cruz replied. “And the First Amendment protects everyone equally, it protects our faith.”
Cruz also defended his support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
“Under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states,” Cruz opined. “And so if someone wants to change the marriage laws, I don’t thing it should be five unselected lawyers down in Washington dictating that.”
“If you want to change the marriage law, convince your fellow citizens to change the laws.”
Blogger Andy Towle pointed out that “Cruz dodged the question” from the gay restaurant owner.
“So pizza show owner Calogne was left hanging – his question wasn’t answered, because there is NOTHING Cruz will do to protect him and his husband. Nothing,” Towle wrote. “And that, of course, leaves everyone with another question: Todd, why the hell are you voting Republican?”
Watch the video below from ABC’s Good Morning America, broadcast April 18, 2016.