This GOP Candidate Said Something Wonderful About Same-Sex Marriage

Photo: JOSHUA GUNTER/The Plain Dealer /Landov.
Last night, the first official GOP debate was filled with many, many disheartening moments. Candidates asserted that women shouldn't have a right to their own bodies, everybody hated on Hillary, and never mind the awful thing Donald Trump said about Rosie O'Donnell.

But there was one lovely (though brief) reprieve from the madness: John Kasich, the underdog from Ohio, made a surprisingly moderate statement about marriage equality.

When asked about how he would explain his stance against same-sex marriage to a son or daughter who identified as gay or lesbian, Kasich said, "I'm an old-fashioned person here, and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I've also said the court has ruled...and I said we'll accept it.

"Because somebody doesn't think the way I do doesn't mean that I can't care about them or can't love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That's what we're taught when we have strong faith."

Kasich's support of marriage equality, while not common in the GOP, helped him to become one of the winners of last night's event. Post-performance analysis showed him ahead of other candidates, and CNN analyst Ed Lee noted that the candidate's "defense of simultaneously opposing gay marriage and respecting the Supreme Court's decision will be well-received across the political spectrum." We'll see what happens to Kasich's poll numbers in the days to come — but it's safe to say they'll be going up.

Make no mistake, though: Kasich's stances are generally pretty conservative, however more moderate than those of the other GOP candidates they may be.

He's firmly opposed to abortion and signed into Ohio law a controversial bill that would ban most procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy (with an exception for cases when the life of the mother is in danger). That same bill included cuts to funding for Planned Parenthood, as well as a requirement that women undergo an ultrasound prior to terminating a pregnancy.

In any case, last night Kasich managed to show some surprisingly progressive character — and create some distance between himself and the other hard-line candidates on the stage. "We need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect, and let them share in this great American dream that we have, Megyn," referring to debate moderator Megyn Kelly of Fox News. "So, look, I'm going to love my daughters, I'm going to love them no matter what they do. Because, you know what, God gives me unconditional love. I'm going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me."

Watch Kasich's comments in their entirety below.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Kasich did not say the word "gay." He did use the term when discussing a wedding he attended.
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