Newspaper article International New York Times

At Reception, Cruz Strikes a Softer Tone toward Gays

Newspaper article International New York Times

At Reception, Cruz Strikes a Softer Tone toward Gays

Article excerpt

The senator and Republican presidential candidate discussed the issue of same-sex marriage at an event hosted by prominent gay hoteliers, according to one of the attendees.

Senator Ted Cruz, the Republican presidential candidate, has positioned himself as a strong opponent to same-sex marriage, urging pastors nationwide to preach in support of marriage as an institution between a man and a woman, which he said was "ordained by God."

But on Wednesday night, at a reception for him at the Manhattan apartment of two prominent gay hoteliers, the Texas senator struck quite a different tone.

During the gathering, according to two attendees, Mr. Cruz said he would have no problem if one of his daughters were gay. He did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states.

The dinner and "fireside chat" for about a dozen people with Mr. Cruz and his wife, Heidi, was at the Central Park South penthouse of Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner, longtime business partners who were once a couple and who have been pioneers in the gay hospitality industry.

"Ted Cruz said, 'If one of my daughters was gay, I would love them just as much,"' recalled Mr. Reisner, a same-sex marriage proponent who described himself as simply an attendee at Mr. Weiderpass's event.

Mr. Reisner and Kalman Sporn, who advises Mr. Cruz's Middle East team and served as the moderator for the evening, said the senator told the group that marriage should be left up to the states.

He did not bring up his own opposition to same-sex marriage during the evening, which focused mainly on foreign policy.

An aide to Mr. Cruz, reached on Thursday, reiterated that the senator is opposed to same-sex marriage.

Mr. Cruz has honed his reputation as a grass-roots firebrand, who was strongly supportive of the Indiana religious freedom law that was recently blasted as discriminatory by gay rights activists. When the law was attacked by major businesses like Walmart, he criticized the "Fortune 500's radical gay marriage agenda."

So the juxtaposition of Mr. Cruz being the guest of honor at a home owned by two of the most visible gay businessmen in New York was striking. …

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