By Julia Manchester
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz cited religious liberty and states’ rights when asked by a gay Republican Monday what he would do as president to protect same-sex couples.
“What would you as President do to protect me and my husband from that institutionalized discrimination?” Todd Calogne, a New York Republican, asked Cruz during a town hall hosted by ABC’s Good Morning America.
Cruz said religious liberty laws protect everyone.
“When it comes to religious liberty, religious liberty is something that protects everyone,” he said. “It is our very first amendment, very first phrase that is protected in the Bill of Rights.”
“It applies to Christians, it applies to Muslims, it applies to Jews, it applies to atheists,” he added. “We want to be able to live in a world where we don’t have the government dictating our beliefs and how we live. We have a right to live according to our faith and according to our conscience.”
When asked by host Robin Roberts what would happen to same-sex married couples if 2015’s Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage was overturned, Cruz said the issue should be settled on a state level.
“I’m a constitutionalist and under the Constitution, marriage is left up to the states,” the Texas senator said. “So if someone wants to change the marriage laws, I don’t think it should be five unelected lawyers down in Washington.”