Speaking before a restless crowd at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) said the Bill of Rights protects all people, including members of the LGBT community he’s targeted throughout his career.
“Whether you’re gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience,” Cruz said.
This view from the senator might be news to many gay people in the U.S.
In 2014, Cruz introduced a bill that would have halted progress on marriage equality by giving states the power to define marriage for federal purposes. Months before, the Supreme Court had overturned a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that it denied same-sex couples the “equal liberty” guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. The decision paved the way for the repeal of other state gay marriage bans, and in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could get married across the nation, and that all states must recognize their unions.
None of this has pleased Cruz.
At a presidential campaign stop earlier this year, Cruz suggested universal marriage equality was a sign the nation was in “crisis.” He also called the Supreme Court’s ruling “fundamentally illegitimate, lawless and unconstitutional.”
Cruz has said he believes “engaging in homosexual conduct is a choice” and that businesses should be able to legally discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
When Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, now the GOP vice presidential candidate, moved forward on a bill to allow individuals or corporations to cite religious beliefs as a defense for denying service to customers, Cruz said the measure was necessary to protect people from “ongoing attacks upon our personal liberties.”
“There was a time, not too long ago, when defending religious liberty enjoyed strong bipartisan support,” Cruz said. “Alas, today we are facing a concerted assault on the First Amendment, on the right of every American to seek out and worship God according to the dictates of his or her conscience.”