Ted Cruz was dressed in a grilling apron emblazoned with his name, and was cooking food at the Iowa State Fair on Friday when confronted by actor Ellen Page on LGBT issues. ABC News caught the action and posted the video, embedded below, to its website. Page questioned Cruz about employment discrimination in the workplace against LGBT people and Cruz answered by discussing religious discrimination.
“What about the question about LGBT people being fired for being gay-trans?” asked Page, to which Cruz answered, “Well, what we’re seeing right now, we’re seeing Bible-believing Christians being persecuted for living according to their faith.”
Page then asked if Cruz would use that same logic if the issue was about race and not gender identity or sexual orientation.
“You’re discriminating against LGBT people. Well, would you use that argument in segregation?”
Cruz said he would not engage in a full exploration of the issue.
“Now I’m happy to answer your question, but not to have a back-and-forth debate.”
He then said “no one has the right to force someone else to abandon their faith and their conscience.”
ABC reported that the exchange went on for five minutes. Afterwards Cruz told a reporter the issue was about religious liberty. The reporter asked Cruz if he recognized the woman posing the questions, and he said no.
Watch the exchange below.
Entertainment Weekly reported that Page was in Iowa working on a travel series for Vice Media, called Gaycation With Ellen Page. The actor, best known for her roles in Juno and the upcoming Freeheld with Julianne Moore, went public about her own identity in 2014 by declaring, “I am gay.”
Ted Cruz is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that Cruz appointed a couple who refused to allow a gay wedding at their restaurant to his Iowa political team. Cruz called them “courageous conservatives.” The couple, Betty and Richard Odgaard, were ordered to pay $5,000 to Lee Stafford and Jared Ellers in response to a civil rights complaint.
In response to Cruz and Page’s discussion, the Human Rights Campaign praised the actor and offered information to Cruz, via Twitter.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) August 21, 2015
[Left photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images News; Right photo: Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images Entertainment]