The Corner

Ted Cruz Visited Some Gays, Opposes Gay Marriage. So What?

The New York Times seems to be confused by Ted Cruz again. Per Maggie Haberman:

Senator Ted Cruz has positioned himself as a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, urging pastors nationwide to preach in support of marriage as an institution between a man and a woman, which he said was “ordained by God.”

But on Monday night, at a reception for him at the Manhattan apartment of two prominent gay hoteliers, the Texas senator and Republican presidential hopeful struck quite a different tone.

During the gathering, according to two people present, Mr. Cruz said he would not love his daughters any differently if one of them was gay. He did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states.

Truly, I see nothing contradictory here at all — nothing, that is, that can justify the dramatic “but.” As should be rather obvious by now, it is wholly possible for a person a) to believe that “marriage” is a term that only be applied to a union between one man and one woman, and b) to have good friends, supporters, backers, donors, and so forth who are gay. Certainly, there are some people among us who oppose gay marriage because they dislike gays. But they are by no means a majority. Do we still understand this?

Perhaps we do not not. Indeed, that we now so casually throw words such as “homophobe,” “hater,” or “bigot” at anybody who does not want to redefine marriage — and that we seem incapable of comprehending that a man such as Cruz can both oppose gay marriage and be fine with it if his daughters were gay — is a sign that we have begun to ignore the reasonable and dispassionate arguments that are leveled against the alteration.

This, I think, is a shame. Personally, I am in favor of gay marriage. If I could vote, I would vote for it in my state. But I am not so ignorant or so self-involved as to believe that those who dissent from my view are akin to Jim Crow-era racists. Twenty years ago, Cruz’s position was the usual one. Three years ago, Barack Obama held it. Two years ago, Hillary Clinton did. Are we to presume that these figures disliked gay people to such an extent that merely being in the same room as them was newsworthy? Are we to presume that all gay people think the same way, and that all they care about is gay marriage? Hardly. This is an important public policy question, and it has yielded some important opinions. But it is only one such question.

As for the complaint that Cruz “did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states”: well . . . these are two separate issues. Post-DOMA, the big question before America has been whether the 1) states will get to decide to consult their voters and to decide for themselves what constitutes a “marriage,” or 2) whether the Supreme Court will find that either the 14th or 5th Amendment requires that we all sing from the same sheet. As senator — and as a potential president – Ted Cruz gets no say at all in the decision of the states. As a litigator and an observer, however, he does get to have an opinion on the overarching constitutional question, which is profound. What he personally thinks is not really relevant to this inquiry. I know many people who are in favor of gay marriage per se but who are not convinced by the suggestion that it is constitutionally mandated. In fact, I am one of those people myself. The Times’s implication — that a person’s legal, personal, and political opinions must always line up perfectly – represents everything wrong with the way we view the law and civil society.

Insofar as it matters at all, everybody knows what Cruz thinks about marriage. They are less clear, however, as to how he would move forward if president. In Manhattan, he explained.

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