On Friday, at a rally in Northern California, John Kasich was asked a question by an openly gay man. The audience member told him he was a 62-year-old who’d come out as gay to his parents at 19. He asked Kasich if he believed that people are born gay. Clearly uncomfortable, Kasich responded:
“You know, sir, probably. I mean, I don’t, I don’t know how it all works, okay? I mean look. Are they? You know, probability they are. Okay?”
This makes him one of the few Republicans to have admitted this. Kasich clearly tried to phrase his answer in a way that would please both gay rights advocates and the religious right.
Despite the moderator’s effort to move on to the next question when things got heated, Kasich insisted on continuing. He said that he disagreed with gay marriage but that he had also gone to the gay wedding of a friend, and had a good time.
He said he respected gay people’s rights, but also said he thought that people have a right to their religious beliefs.
When pressed about Republican discrimination against gays, Kasich tried to distance himself from the more extreme wing of the party. He responded by saying:
“I’m not in favor of that. I’m not in favor of discrimination against anybody…They are not me. I’m telling you my views, okay?…And I’m not for saying that if you happen to be gay that somehow somebody should hold something against you.”
Kasich clearly does not want to be associated with lawmakers in North Carolina, Mississippi, and other Republican states that have passed laws discriminating against the LGBT community.
His response was a delicate balancing act. He was clearly successful at pleasing the audience, which applauded his remarks. But it is unlikely this will go over very well within the Republican party as a whole.
In the end, his effort to please religious extremists and gay rights advocates cannot succeed, as the difference between the two is too great.
Featured image via Video.