KEOSAUQUA, IOWA — Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz ended a seven-stop tour of Iowa on Tuesday with extended comments against marriage equality and transgender-inclusive policies, which he said represented a “time of crisis” in America.
His remarks came in response to a question from Keosauqua resident Randy DeLong, who expressed concern with the “moral decay in this country.”
“It was a sad day when I saw the Capitol building all lit up in the rainbow colors,” DeLong said, referring back to June, when the White House used a colorful light display to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. “How will your faith have a positive effect? How will you light that faith to make changes?”
As the audience in rural southeast Iowa applauded the question, Cruz nodded. “You’re absolutely right,” he said. “Our country is in a time of crisis. We’re losing who we are.”
Cruz assured DeLong that his presidency would not endorse the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right, calling it “fundamentally illegitimate, lawless, and unconstitutional.” Previously, Cruz has said individual states should ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling making marriage equality the law of the land. In leaked audio from an event in December, however, Cruz indicated that abolishing same-sex marriage would not be a priority if he was elected president.
Priority or not, Cruz on Tuesday mounted a spirited defense of his views on marriage — that it should only occur between a man and a woman. The American people, he said, are on his side.
“The American people all overwhelming disagree with [same-sex marriage],” he said, arguing that polls that show majority support for marriage equality — like this one from the Pew Research Center and this one from Gallup — are “skewed.”
“You can write a poll in a way that will get the results you want if they’re skewed,” Cruz said. “But when people of states have actually gone to the ballot box, they’ve voted to protect traditonal marriage.” Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, more than half of all states in the America had banned same-sex marriage, either through ballot initiatives or legislation.
Cruz also lambasted the Obama administration for deciding to light the White House in rainbow colors following the Supreme Court’s decision.
“What we’re doing doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “What does it say that that day, they lit up the White House in rainbow colors, and yet it took nearly a week to recognize that our servicemen were murdered by jihadists in Chattanooga by lowering the flag at half staff? How messed up are those values?” Cruz was referring to the five days it took the Obama administration to lower the White House’s flag when a Muslim man opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In the months leading up to the impending Iowa caucuses, prominent anti-gay figures have rallied around Cruz. Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Iowa organization The FAMiLY Leader, announced his support for Cruz last month. Among other things, Plaats and his group are known for circulating a pledge in 2011 asking presidential candidates to call homosexuality a choice, and demand pornography be banned. The National Organization for Marriage has also given Cruz its endorsement.
After speaking about same-sex marriage on Tuesday, Cruz also took the opportunity to blast the Department of Education for trying to enforce transgender-inclusive policies. Cruz often employs this rhetoric at campaign stops, claiming that letting transgender students use the bathroom of the gender they identify with amounts to letting “little boys shower with little girls.”
DeLong, for his part, was pleased with Cruz’s answers, telling ThinkProgress after the event that he asked the question because he was “concerned about the moral welfare of the country.”
“I’ve got kids,” he said. “I’ve got this little heart here, ticking. I’m conscientious.”