Bilerico Report

Several GOP candidates think Ted Cruz is too soft on gay marriage

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas Andrew Harnik, AP

Nobody in their right mind would think that Ted Cruz is a softie on gay issues. Needless to say, the GOP presidential race is crowded with people who fit that description.

Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have been frantically trying to portray Cruz as soft on marriage equality in a feeble effort to stop Cruz’s momentum in the polls and in fundraising.

(For the record, Cruz has been endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage, which should settle the question of his credentials.) Marco Rubio has added his own twist, trying to out-Cruz Cruz.

The ostensible reason for the attacks is a comment that Cruz made at a private event with supporters in New York. As reported by Politico, Cruz was asked at the event if fighting gay marriage was “a top-three priority” for him. Cruz’s reply was “no,” but with enough nuance that you shouldn’t get your hopes up.

“I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority,” Cruz said. “And that cuts across the whole spectrum — whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty.”

What Cruz’s comments boil down to is that fighting gay marriage is part of a broader anti-gay agenda and not a standalone issue, which is consistent with Cruz’s record of opposing all things gay (with the exception of gay money). It’s also consistent with how he’s spoken about marriage equality in the past.

Politico breathlessly tried to spin the story “a potential vulnerability that Cruz’s opposition aims to exploit.” Following Politico’s helpful script, his opponents did just that. The PAC supporting Mike Huckabee ran an ad in Iowa, quoting from the audio file Politico posted. “Listen to Cruz raise money in New York City from liberals who don’t share our conservative Iowa values,”the ad’s narrator intones. (Apparently, Huckabee’s definition of a liberal is anyone who doesn’t contribute money to him.)

Rick Santorum suggested that Cruz is insufficiently homophobic because he has a “libertarian streak.” In a fine example of the typical Santorum logic, who has retired his sweater vests, said that Cruz’s inability to demand the courts bend to his will would eventually lead to polygamy.

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