U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, IA.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, IA.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

The audio that Politico promised of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaking at a fundraiser in New York is out. I said the anticipation of the audio was likely more harmful than the audio itself.  After listening to it and reading it I stand by those comments.

You can listen to the audio here, the transcript as provided by Politico is below:

Male questioner: “Can I ask you a question? So, I’m a big supporter. And the only issue I really disagree with you about is gay marriage. And I’m curious: Given all the problems that the country’s facing — like ISIS, the growth of government — how big a priority is fighting gay marriage going to be to a Cruz administration?”

Cruz: “My view on gay marriage is that I’m a constitutionalist and marriage is a question for the states. And so I think if someone wants to change the marriage laws of their state, the way to do so is convince your fellow citizens — and change them democratically, rather than five unelected judges. … Being a constitutionalist is integral to my approach to every other issue. So that I’m very devoted to.”

Same questioner: “So would you say it’s like a top-three priority for you — fighting gay marriage?”

Cruz: “No. I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority. And that cuts across the whole spectrum — whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty, stopping courts from making public policy issues that are left to the people. …

“I also think the 10th Amendment of the Constitution cuts across a whole lot of issues and can bring people together. People of New York may well resolve the marriage question differently than the people of Florida or Texas or Ohio. … That’s why we have 50 states — to allow a diversity of views. And so that is a core commitment.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the first to jump on this with a released statement.

Conservatives are being asked to ‘coalesce’ around yet another corporately-funded candidate that says something very different at a big donor fundraiser in Manhattan than at a church in Marshalltown. Shouldn’t a candidate be expected to have authenticity and consistency, instead of having to look at a map to decide what to believe and what to say?

“One reason I do respect Trump is that whether you agree with him or not, he doesn’t pretend with his principles or change his message depending on his location or audience. If issues like marriage and the sanctity of life are truly issues of principle and not just politics, then there should not be geographical boundaries to what is right and wrong.

Look if Cruz touted a Federal Marriage Amendment in Iowa, and if he said it was his top priority I could agree with Huckabee. The fact is that he didn’t.

Here is what he has done.

He drafted the State Marriage Marriage Defense Act.  He drafted the Protect Marriage from the Courts Act, and a constitutional amendment that would prevent a state from having to recognize a same-sex marriage license from another state.

As solicitor general of Texas he has also defended Texas’ marriage laws.

These are things that are on the record. These are tangible things he has done, and since he has sponsored these things it stands to reason he would sign them into law. He’s never advocated a Federal Marriage Amendment that would overrule states that have decided on same-sex marriage on their own.

Now you may not agree with that approach, I know some conservatives who don’t and I have mixed feelings, but he’s been consistent. Pragmatically speaking this approach has a much greater ability to gain traction than a traditional marriage amendment so I’m not against this approach.

As far as marriage being in his top 3 priorities.  He has never said that it was. He has given a whole litany of things he said he would do on day one.  He has made protecting religious liberty a priority, and was one of six candidates who would make the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act a priority in their first 100 days as President.

This is simply much to do about nothing. You may disagree with Cruz’s position, but he’s been nothing if not consistent.

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