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Ted Cruz still really dislikes gay people

Though he’s happy to take their money if they’re foolish enough to offer it to him.

Not Ted Cruz

Not Ted Cruz

Nobody tell the adoring fans at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement at Liberty University that he was palling around liberal New York City with well-known gay activists.

On Wednesday, Cruz attended a small New York City event hosted by two “prominent gay hoteliers” who used to be an item, The New York Times reported. According to one of the men, Ian Reisner, the Texas senator said he would love his daughters no less if one came out as a lesbian. That’s good and well and something most parents would understand, but something else happened that night.

A couple of attendees at the event told The Times that Cruz said the states should independently decide whether same-sex couples should be able to wed, his long-time position. When the paper of record followed up, a Cruz aide said the senator is still opposed to same-sex marriage.

[…]

Cruz, an Ivy League-educated lawyer, has long said this issue should be left up to the states, which is a non-starter among the proponents of so-called marriage equality. Just last October, he called for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the federal government from overriding state marriage laws, a sign that even Cruz, a consummate politician, knows which way the wind blows. At the time, he assailed the U.S. Supreme Court for “abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution” after a ruling that he said “permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws.”

The problem for Cruz and every GOP presidential candidate who opposes a federally-recognized right to marriage, regardless of someone’s sex, is that the question is mostly answered. Even the most cautious court observers cannot argue with the proposition that legal trends point toward full-fledged marriage equality across the country by this summer.

If that’s the case, then, Cruz and his allies really have no reason to shun wealthy gay donors who disagree with him on this specific issue but find his standing on other topics – the Times article specifically mentioned his fervent support of Israel – more agreeable.

You wold think that those wealthy gay donors would have plenty of reasons to shun Cruz, however.

Sen. Ted Cruz really wants to make sure you know he opposes same-sex marriage.

After Cruz attended a Manhattan reception hosted for him by two gay hoteliers–Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass–the senator introduced bills to protect state same-sex marriage bans, according to Bloomberg News.

One bill would amend the Constitution to definitively allow same-sex marriage bans. The other would halt federal court action on the issue until the amendment is enacted. Several district courts have stricken down same-sex marriage bans, and the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 28.

Cruz is a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage and believes states should be allowed to ban it. Though the New York reception focused on national security and foreign policy, Cruz–when asked–said he’d still love his daughters if they were gay.

He just wants to treat them like second-class citizens, that’s all. Very simply, what this all boils down to is that Cruz, like most of his fellow Republican Presidential candidates, wants to have it both ways, and hopes everyone is too stupid or distracted by other issues to notice.

Ted Cruz has now responded to the brouhaha over his Manhattan fundraiser hosted by two prominent gay hoteliers. He argues that there’s no contradiction between his opposition to gay marriage and saying that he would love his daughter if one of his two daughters was gay. In truth, there really is not a necessary contradiction. That’s a totally valid point. But that hardly exhausts the issue or the balancing act (to use a generous formulation) that national Republicans are trying to pull off. They have to balance between a base that remains committed to opposing not only gay marriage but what we might call the normalization of gay life under the law, and a general public that has really moved on from this issue and is beginning to see legal inequality as on the par with de jure racial discrimination. As I said yesterday, we’re seeing the rise of a gay rights policy mullet – same old same old when talking to the base, but a very different way of talking about attitudes toward LGBT Americans when talking to the general public – and specifically, super-rich campaign donors.

Back to this point of whether there’s a contradiction. I don’t think there’s necessarily a contradiction. But there is quite a tension, to put it mildly. What’s the tonality? It’s one thing to oppose gay marriage as a legal matter. Quite another to rail against gay ‘activists’ forcing their ‘lifestyle’ on ordinary Americans, like Cruz and his fellow base Republican candidates do.

We’ve already seen how many national Republicans remain opposed to gay marriage but seem, when making the argument, to want to focus on how they believe homosexuality is not a choice, have gay friends and really can’t wait to go to a gay wedding, even though they don’t think there should be any. When Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson tried to find a middle ground on his state’s ‘religious liberty’ bill, he said basically, I’m so meh on this, even my son thinks I’m behind the times.

[…]

In Maggie Haberman’s follow up on Cruz’s Manhattan fundraiser, she notes that Cruz told the guests at the event that he thinks gay marriage should be left to the states. That’s not totally inconsistent with his rhetoric on the campaign trail, since most of his proposed policies focus on protecting anti-gay marriage states from federal interference. But does Cruz really think the federal government should be agnostic on this issue? Does he think married gay couples should get federal benefits like Social Security and so forth as married couples? I doubt very much that’s an argument he’s willing to get behind on the campaign trail.

This is going to be a constant issue going forward through the 2016 campaign – even the candidate who is trying to stand out with his anti-marriage equality cred tries to hem and haw when he’s raising money in New York. In New York, marriage equality is a minor, principled policy disagreement amidst warm feelings about respect and compassion for all Americans; on the campaign trail it’s the beating heart of the rearguard fight in defense of traditional America. You can muscle those two visions into alignment if you really press hard. But they still can’t fit together.

Clearly, the answer to that first question in the penultimate paragraph is no, he does not think the federal government should be agnostic. Quite the opposite, in fact. I think we all know the answer to the second question, too. These questions may indeed be “minor, principled policy disagreements” for people like those two idiot hoteliers (who are now deservedly coming under fire for their tone-deaf actions) who live in places like New York where same sex marriage is legal. (At least until Ted Cruz gets elected President, anyway.) But for many thousands of people in places like Texas where the old laws still apply, it’s real life with real legal and financial consequences. Where’s the compassion for them?

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