Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 082615 Contents 16 • 8 .26.2015
gays should Be aBle to discRiminate against
chRistians says cRuz
By Lisa Keen
Keen News Service
Darriage equality is now the law of the land.
Republican presidential hopeful Ted
Cruz said last Friday he thinks a gay
florist should be able to refuse services to an
evangelical couple if the florist disagrees with
the couple’s faith.
discrimination based on religion, and both
federal and state laws prohibit discrimination
based on religion in public accommodations.
Cruz is a lawyer and should know better, but
campaigns provoke candidates to say all kinds
of strange things. For instance, at this same
campaign event August 21, Cruz derided the
Obama administration for sending millions of
dollars to Iran, even though Iran is executing
Cruz himself has done nothing to protect
the lives of LGBT people in the United States.
A centerpiece of his campaign for the White
House has been a message that the U.S . needs
more laws to protect Christians who want to
discriminate against gays.
Cruz’s poster couple while campaigning in
Iowa last week was an evangelical couple, Dick
and Betty Odgaard of Grimes, Iowa, who said
their religious beliefs wouldn’t allow them to
rent space or sell flowers to a gay couple.
The Iowa human rights law, like that of all
other states, prohibits discrimination based on
religion, but like that of a few other states, the
Iowa law also prohibits discrimination based
on sexual orientation. The Iowa human rights
commission declared that the Odgaards’ refusal
of service to the gay couple was discrimination
based on sexual orientation.
Cruz has produced a campaign video
highlighting the Odgaards’ experience and
invited them to a campaign rally in Iowa last
Friday as an example of “Christians being
persecuted” for “living according to their faith.”
Before that rally, Cruz participated in a
pork chop fry as a way to meet with voters at
the Iowa State Fair, when openly gay actress
Ellen Page approached him and attempted to
have a colloquy about rights for LGBT people.
Cruz said he didn’t want to have a “back and
forth,” but he did offer, at length, his defense
of the idea that people should be able to refuse
services to gay people based on their religious
During the discussion, Cruz referred to the
Odgaard, who operated a business that rented
out a former church building and provided
other wedding services but who refused those
services to a gay couple. Cruz characterizes
the couple’s business as a religious institution,
which it was not, and then suggests that gay
florists should be able to discriminate against
The following is a transcript of the ABC News
coverage of the interaction between Cruz and
Page: What about the question of LGBT
people getting fired because they’re gay or
Cruz: Well, what we’re seeing right now is
actually we’re seeing Bible-believing Christians
being persecuted. So for example...
Page: For discriminating against LGBT
Cruz: No, for living according to their faith.
So, for example...
Page: Yeh, but people would use that
argument during the segregation era.
Cruz: I’m happy to answer your question but
not to have a back-and-forth debate. So, one of
the couples that are going to be featured in a
video, they’re from Grimes, Iowa, wonderful
couple. They own an historic Lutheran Church.
For many years, they hosted weddings in their
church. A couple of years ago, two men came
and wanted to have a same-sex wedding in
their church. Now, the Odgaards are devout
[Mennonites]. So they respectfully explained
it would be contrary to their faith for them
to celebrate in their church a wedding that
was not [indiscernible]. The Odgaards were
promptly sued, they were dragged into
protracted litigation. They ended up spending
$5,000 to settle the case. And they made a
promise never again to host another wedding
in their church. Driven out of business. This
month, they laid off all their employees. That is
fundamentally wrong. Let’s take the other side:
No one has the right to force someone else to
abandon their faith and conscience. Imagine,
hypothetically, you had gay florist and imagine
that two evangelical Christians wanted to get
married and the gay florist decided, ‘You know
what, I disagree with your faith and I don’t
want to provide flowers.’”
Page: I would say they should provide
Cruz: And I would say the gay florist has
every right to say, ‘If I disagree with your faith
and don’t want to participate and, you know
what, there are lots of other people they can
buy flowers from.’ We don’t have a right to force
a Jewish rabbi to conduct a Christian wedding
ceremony. We don’t have a right to force a
Muslim Iman to conduct a Jewish wedding.
We’re a country that respects pluralism and
diversity, and there is this liberal intolerance
that says that anyone that dares to follow a
Biblical teaching of marriage –that marriage is
between one man and one woman-- must be
persecuted, must be fined, and must be driven
out of business.”
Page: I disagree. I [indiscernible] more
tolerance for LGBT people who were constantly
persecuted in this country. It used to be illegal,
they were thrown in jail. And we’ve come a
really, really long way.
Cruz: Who’s thrown in jail?
Page: Gay people used to be thrown in jail.
Cruz: You know it is interesting right now.
Do you where gay people are being persecuted
right now? ISIS...
Page: All over the world, all over the world.
Cruz: ISIS is executing gay people. Iran is
Cruz: And on the left, you hear complete
Page: That’s not true.
Cruz: ...about Iran hanging homosexuals.
And yet the Obama administration is sending
over a hundred billion dollars to a regime that
murders homosexuals. That is fundamentally
Page: [Indiscernible] Christians in Uganda,
Christians in Jamaica are persecuting gays to a
really, really violent extent.
Cruz: But does that trouble you draw at all
that you draw a moral equivalence between
Christians in Jamaica and radical Islamic
terrorists in ISIS beheading children. They’re
Page: [indiscernible] gay persecution around
Cruz: But, m’am, they are not morally
equivalent. Murder is murder is murder, and
it is wrong. And it is wrong across the board.
And there is a difference between a community
like Jamaica that may have different standards,
may not be celebrating a gay pride parade but
they are not murdering people. If they were
murdering people, it would be wrong.
Page: A lot of gay people are getting killed...
Cruz: But in Iran and ISIS, it is the
governmental body that is executing them
for being homosexual. And why does Obama
administration not stand against it?
Page: [indiscernible] talk to Obama about
that’d be great.
Cruz: Great. Then we’re agreed on that.
Page: No, no we’re not. Don’t do that.
Cruz: But we’re agreed. M’am we’ve had a
Page: Yeh, I appreciate it.
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