Ted Cruz joined the ranks of Presidential candidates making appearances at the Iowa State Fair today, where more than a million spectators show up each year to see a giant cow made of butter and hear from politicians. Cruz grilled pork chops, made pork jokes, and had a very tense confrontation with a (pretty famous) fairgoer about gay rights. Ellen Page sidled up to the candidate at the grill and asked him about workplace policies that allow for gay and lesbian people to be fired, according to ABC, which caught the exchange. "What about the question about LGBT people being fired for being gay [or] trans?" she asked, wearing a cap and sunglasses. Cruz responded that he was more concerned about Christians being persecuted for their faith — bringing up the hypothetical of Christian florists being forced to provide for a gay wedding.
In a release in response to the incident, the Human Rights Campaign called that claim false, pointing to a recent survey in which full two-thirds of gay Americans say they've experienced discrimination. "You’re discriminating against LGBT people," Page told Cruz. "Well, would you use that argument in segregation?"According the report, they spoke for about five minutes. Cruz later said he didn't know who Page was.
Cruz, the junior senator for Texas and Tea Party favorite, is a staunch social conservative. This summer, when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, it was decried by all the major GOP candidates, but Cruz seemed bent on outdoing his competitors with expressions of outrage. "The last 24 hours at the United States Supreme Court were among the darkest hours of our nation," he said the day after the ruling at an event in Iowa. Page, 28, has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights since she came out as a lesbian in 2014. She and Sen. Cruz are both Canadian-born, and she's teased him before on Twitter for his opposition to Obamacare.
At the same Iowa appearance, Cruz criticized the presidency of Jimmy Carter at some length, just a day after Carter revealed that he'd be undergoing radiation for cancer in his brain and liver.