At a Commonwealth Club of California town hall on Friday, John Kasich was confronted by 62-year-old Kelly Bryan, who asked the Ohio governor and presidential candidate whether he believes that people are born gay.
“Do you believe that some people are born gay?” asked Bryan. “Gay people are human beings and not a lifestyle choice. Please respond without prayer being an answer.”
Kasich responded with his thoughts about religion, and then offered a suggestion about “religious freedom” bills that he’s been using for weeks on the campaign trail:
“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 lawmaking.”
Kelly replied: “Republicans don’t believe in marriage equality. It’s your platform.”
“Is it?” Kasich asked. “I haven’t read that thing lately.”
“Well you should know what you’re doing,” demanded Kelly.
“They don’t tell me what to do by the platform. Republican Party is my vehicle not my master,” Kasich shot back, getting applause from the audience.
Kasich adds that he believes in traditional marriage but he recently went to a gay wedding
Interjected Bryan: “But do you know that people are born gay?”
“I’m not going to get into the analysis of this or that,” Kasich replied.
“It’s not analysis. Are people born gay?” Bryan insisted.
“Probably? I don’t know how it all works. Are they? In all probability, they are. 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 should have as good a life as anybody else.”
Kasich issued an executive order in 2011 protecting state workers based on sexual orientation, thought there is no similar protection for gender identity. There is not protection for LGBT workers outside of state employment. Ohio also has no protection for LGBT people under current state hate crime laws.
On “religious freedom”, Kasich added:
“If I saw this was becoming a huge problem, then we might have to write a law. But every time someone writes a law around this subject, guess what happens? You have to rewrite the law cause they never get it write. So let’s just respect one another a little more.
“Do I think people are born gay? Probably. I’ve never studied the issue. But I don’t see any reason to hurt you, or discriminate you, or make you feel bad, or make you feel like a second class citizen. I don’t think that’s right. Cause you know what? Everybody’s created in the image of the Lord.”