Republican Presidential hopeful John Kasich has again split from his rivals on LGBT rights – by coming out in favour of anti-discrimination laws.
Earlier this month, Mr Kasich – one of the five remaining candidates for the party’s nomination, ruled out proposals to overturn equal marriage and repeal Barack Obama’s executive orders on LGBT rights – flying in the face of all his Republican opponents.
He again broke from the pack this week, while speaking about a baker in Texas who decided to turn away a gay couple who wanted a wedding cake – because of her purportedly Christian beliefs.
Speaking at the University of Virginia, Mr Kasich said of the case: “People talk about religious liberty, and I think frankly our churches should not be forced to do anything that’s not consistent with them.”
According to the Roanoke Times, he added: “If you’re a cupcake maker and someone wants a cupcake, make them a cupcake. Let’s not have a big lawsuit or argument over all this stuff. Move on.”
Kasich is the last Republican candidate who isn’t actively anti-LGBT, given Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio have all pledged to try to overturn the Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage.
Donald Trump has also signalled that he would “consider” appointing ultra-conservative justices in a bid to overturn the marriage ruling, in a drastic U-turn from his previous stance.
Speaking about anti-discrimination legislation previously: “If I see discrimination in anything, like I said earlier, I’m willing to do what I can.
“Whether it’s executive order or legislation. That’s fine with me. As for marriage equality – let me be clear I’m for traditional marriage but I’ve been to my first gay wedding.
“A friend of mine is gay and got married. I went home and said to my wife, we’ve been invited to Steve’s wedding and you know, said this is going to be unusual for us.
“She said, well I’m going. Are you going? And I went. And I had a great time. And there was great champagne.”
Governor Kasich has trailed in national polls, but enjoyed a boost after coming second in New Hampshire, picking up 15.8% of the vote.
The latest cake row was sparked this week when Longview Texas couple Ben Valencia and Luis Marmolejo went to local bakery Kerns Bake Shop, while trying to order a cake for their wedding on March 27.
The couple – who got engaged after the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage last year – were turned away by bakery co-owner Edie Delorme, who insisted she would not make a cake for a “homosexual marriage”.
Valencia that the baker made the pair feel like “cockroaches” by discriminating against them – and lamented the lack of equality laws in the Republican-dominated state.
He said: “I feel like people should be able to go to somewhere to get something done without having to worry about who they are.
“Obviously we don’t have laws that protect against that sort of discrimination in Texas, so you really can’t sue the lady, but I just think people should know that that happened.
“Businesses have the right to refuse service, but if she’s going to be like that, why doesn’t she just put a sign that says, ‘We don’t make homosexual cakes’?”
Delorme told The Longview News-Journal that there are many cakes she refuses to make because of her Christian beliefs – and that she would rather stop making wedding cakes altogether than cater a gay wedding.
She said: “If I went to a baker, a homosexual baker, and they didn’t want to provide a cake for an event that maybe celebrated marriage between a man and a woman, that would be OK for them to say, ‘That’s not in line with our values’.
“We don’t do alcohol-related cakes or risque (ones). We’ve turned down cake for, like, ‘Can you make a giant Skoal can?’?
“It’s not like we single out one reason.”
Despite their claim, the bakery’s Facebook page features several cakes made for Halloween in contradiction with evangelical Christian teachings.
The baker added that she has gay relatives – but wouldn’t make a wedding cake for them either.
She said: “[My gay nephew] knows that… it’s not a lifestyle choice that I support for him, but I love him.”
However, Delorme admitted that she doesn’t quiz other prospective cake-buyers to see if they conform to Biblical values on divorce and pre-marital sex.
She said: “We’ve talked about that. We would really have to do a lot of prying [sic] to find out.
“That’s something [husband] David and I would have to talk about, whether that would be something that we should participate in or not.”
Presumably she wouldn’t cater Kim Davis’ fourth wedding – but perhaps she could introduce some sort of ‘worthiness’ quiz for prospective customers.
However, luckily Valencia and Marmolejo won’t have to go cakeless – as a nearby baker who heard about their plight has stepped up to help them for free.
Tee Allen of ‘Mama Tee’s Cakes and Catering’ said: “I don’t care if you’re pink, purple, polka-dotted, gay or straight, if you want me to make you a cake, I’m going to make you a cake.
“We’re all humans. We all bleed the same color, no matter what our skin color is or [our sexual orientation]. We all bleed the same color. We’re all people.”