John Kasich was back to his preachy self during a town hall in California last week. Watch as he wades once again into the issues of marriage and religious liberty:
QUESTIONER: Do you believe that some people are born gay? I’m a 62-year-old gay man who came out to both of my parents at 19, and I’ve been gay for 45 – over 40 years. Gay people are human beings and not a lifestyle choice. Please respond without prayer being an answer.
KASICH: In terms of me, I don’t believe in discrimination. I think there is a balance, however, between discrimination and people’s religious liberties. But I think we should just try to, like, take a chill pill, relax, and try to get along with one another a little bit better, instead of trying to write some law to solve a problem that doesn’t frankly exist in big enough numbers to justify more law-making. So, you know, I mean –
QUESTIONER: Republicans don’t believe in marriage equality. It’s your platform.
KASICH: Well – is it? I haven’t read that thing lately.
QUESTIONER: Well you should know what you’re doing.
KASICH: Okay, um. Well, no, they don’t tell me what to do by the platform. Republican Party is my vehicle and not my master. I have a right to define the Republican Party too.
KASICH: I believe in traditional marriage. I just went to a gay wedding. Buddy of mine just went, got, you know, got married. My wife and I went to the wedding. It was great, it was fine. Um –
QUESTIONER: But do you feel that people are born gay?
KASICH: I’m not gonna get into all the analysis of this or that. I’m not gonna do that.
QUESTIONER: It’s not analysis. Are people born gay?
KASICH: You know, sir – probably. I mean, I don’t know how it all works, okay. I mean, are they? In all probability they are. Okay?
QUESTIONER: Don’t we deserve free – regular rights like everyone –
KASICH: Well, you have free regular rights. We’re not denying you any rights. I’m not in Ohio. I’m not out to discriminate against you. I think you ought to have as good a life as anybody else. How can I be more clear than that?
QUESTIONER: In Kentucky, you’re, you’re –
KASICH: But I’m not in Kentucky.
QUESTIONER: Mississippi –
KASICH: I’m not in favor of this –
MODERATOR: Our next question –
KASICH: No, no, let me finish, let me finish. I’m not in favor of that. I’m not in favor of discrimination against anybody.
QUESTIONER: But they’re using religion.
KASICH: They are not me. Okay? They are not me. I’m telling you my views, okay? I’m gonna tell you this – I don’t agree with gay marriage, but I went to a gay wedding! Okay, I mean, that’s what I’ve done. And I’m not for saying that because you happen to be gay that somehow, somebody should hold something against you. Now, here’s the question. So somebody has deep religious beliefs, so you go to a – and I’ve talked about this repeatedly. You go to somebody who’s a photographer, you want them to come and be the photographer for the gay wedding. The guy who’s the photographer, the woman, says, ‘I’d really rather not do that, kind of against my principles.’ So my feeling is, well, find another photographer.
Let me give you another one. So if I’m making cakes, and somebody comes in and says – okay, well, first of all, I don’t think they come in and announce what their feeling is – but say they come in and say, ‘I’m gay, I’d like to have a cake.’ Sell him a cake! You know, that’s kinda – I mean, we gotta – we cannot be pushing each other’s buttons. And we need to just – we don’t wanna discriminate anybody, but we also don’t want to run over anybody’s religious – you know, deeply held religious beliefs either.
So, I think there’s a balance, sir, and here’s what I would tell you. If I saw that this was becoming this huge problem – huge problem – then we might have to write a law. But every time somebody writes a law around this subject, guess what happens? Guess what happens? You have to rewrite the law. Because they never get it right. So let’s just, like, respect one another a little bit more, tolerate each other’s individual beliefs, and I’m not gonna sign any laws in Ohio that is going to create a discrimination against anybody.
And do I think that people are born gay? Probably. I’ve never studied the issue. But I don’t see any reason to hurt you or to discriminate you or make you feel bad or make you feel like a second-class citizen. I don’t think that’s right. Because you know what? Everybody is created in the image of the Lord.
And I don’t – so – one other thing. Sometimes people say that they’re religious, okay? Just because I say that I’m a Ford Falcon doesn’t make me one. Don’t you understand what that means? Just because I say that I’m faithful doesn’t mean that I am. Just because I make a statement. And don’t put everybody who you think, you know, has religion and believes in God, don’t put everybody in the same barrel, because I’m telling you how I feel about things. And, um, I woke up today, and talked to my minister today, and tried to say some prayers today. You know what I’m praying for? ‘Lord, let me be a better guy, because I’m a screwball. And secondly, I’ll try to do what you want me to do with my life.’ That’s it. That’s what my prayer today. So, God bless you, okay? Thank you.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe.