A gay, "lifelong Republican" confronted GOP presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz on ABC's "Good Morning America" Monday, inquiring how the Texas senator would, as president, protect him and his gay marriage of two years.
Todd Cologne, a New York pizza restaurant owner who said he's leaning toward voting for GOP front-runner Donald Trump asked, "I've noticed 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 the institutionalized discrimination?"
Cruz initially responded by saying that he supports religious freedom and that he doesn't believe the government should compel people to violate their faith or their conscience.
When pressed by show-host George Stephanopoulos, who reminded Cruz that he supported a constitutional amendment that would overturn last summer's Supreme Court ruling that essentially legalized gay marriage, Cruz went on to remind Stephanopoulos and the crowd that the issue of marriage is one that, per the Constitution, should be addressed by the states — not the high court.
"I am a constitutionalist," Cruz said. "And under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states. That has been the case since the very beginning of this country — that it has been up to the states."
[sharequote align="center"]"..under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states."[/sharequote]
"So if someone wants to change the marriage laws, I don't think it should be five unelected lawyers down in Washington dictating that. And even if you happen to agree with that particular decision, why would you want to hand over every important public policy decision to five unelected lawyers who aren't accountable to you, who don't work for you," Cruz added. "Instead, if you want to change the marriage laws, convince your fellow citizens to change the laws."
Cruz went on to explain that what makes the United States "great" is that the country was setup to reflect different values in different parts of the country.
"And by the way, it may end up that — we have 50 states — that the laws in one state may be different than another state, and we would expect that," he said. "We would expect the people of New York to adopt different laws than perhaps the people of California, or Texas, or Florida and that's the great thing about a big, diverse country: We can have different laws that reflect different values."
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