Religion

Ted Cruz Praises Iowa Couple Who Refused To Host Wedding For Same-Sex Couple

| by Nathaly Pesantez

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz released a video on Tuesday showcasing an Iowan couple who refused to host a same-sex couple in their wedding hall.

In the video titled "In Defense of Religious Liberty", Cruz speaks to Dick and Betty Odgaard, the Mennonite owners of the Gortz Haus--the wedding venue in question.

Last month, the couple announced that the Gotz Haus was due to close after a legal agreement that denied the couple the ability to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation, according to The Des Moines Register. Based on this measure, the couple decided to stop hosting weddings altogether.

"By the end of August, we'll be shutting our doors," Dick says in the video.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

"It was devastating to hear that we were bigots, we were homophobes, we were haters." Betty says.

Cruz praises the Odgaards for sharing their story and "taking a stand" on the issue.

"Your story is powerful, your story is inspirational--it inspires me," Cruz says. "And it inspires millions of believers, believers of many faiths across this country who want to live in a land where we're free to live out according to our faith and our convictions."

The video concludes with an invitation to join the Rally for Religious Liberty in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 21.

Lee Stafford and Jared Ellers received $5000 from the Odgaards to settle a civil rights complaint filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after they refused to host the same-sex couple's marriage ceremony. Iowa had recognized same-sex marriage in 2009, and provisions protecting sexual orientation and gender identity entered the state's civil rights code in 2007, according to The Huffington Post.

Last month, Cruz announced his intention to make the Supreme Court's landmark same-sex marriage ruling the "front and center" issue of his presidential campaign during an interview on NPR'S Morning Edition.

Sources: In Defense of Religious Liberty/Ted Cruz YouTube Page, The Des Moines Register (2), NPR, The Huffington Post

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore , Flickr Creative Commons