Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, appeared on NBC’s Today Monday to discuss among other things his opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling on ‘gay marriage.’
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie pressed Cruz on remarks he made in an interview with The Texas Tribune, contending that Texas county clerks should not have to issue marriage licenses based on religious grounds. “[O]ne thing you also said was that you would support a Texas state clerk who refused to issue a license to a gay couple on religious grounds,” Guthrie began. “Let me ask you this, if a state clerk refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, would you agree with that, too?”
“Well, there’s no religious backing for that,” Cruz answered, before being interrupted by Guthrie. “But you know that in the Loving vs. Virginia case, which is – struck down the bans on interracial marriage, they used religious arguments to justify that,” Guthrie noted.
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The Lone Star State’s junior Senator is himself a product of an interracial marriage. His father, Rafael, comes from Cuba; and his mother, Eleanor, was born in Delaware to Irish and Italian parents. Cruz reiterated his point. “There’s no religious backing for that and I have spent decades fighting against bigotry and racial oppression,” he said. Still, Guthrie pressed on:
Well, let me go back to this case that – Loving vs. Virginia – this is a precedent you’re well aware of, this struck down a state ban on interracial marriage. This is something that many, many people see parallels with this same case that just decided gay marriage. You say it should be left to states.
Would you have taken that same position on the case of interracial marriage? That that’s not a constitutional right and the states should have been free to ban interracial marriage if they wanted to?
“Of course not. And we fought a bloody civil war,” Cruz answered. The Today co-host interrupted Cruz again. “What’s the difference in those two cases?” asked Guthrie. Cruz explained:
It is exactly what I said, that we fought a bloody civil war over the original sin of our country that was slavery. Slavery was grotesque and immoral and some 600,000 Americans lost their lives, spilled their blood on American soil to expunge it.
And we passed three amendments, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, to ensure that everyone has equal rights regardless of race. And that was honoring the promise of the Constitution. It was the right thing to do.
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