As the question "Would you attend a same-sex wedding?" has been thrown at many Republican presidential candidates following June's Supreme Court ruling, Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared during Thursday night's Fox News Republican presidential debate that he has, in fact, attended a gay wedding.
When asked by Fox host Megyn Kelly how he would explain his opposition to gay marriage to a hypothetical gay son or lesbian daughter, the former chairman of the House Budget Committee explained that while he believes in traditional marriage, his faith tells him to be loving and accepting to all.
He added that since the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, the ruling must be honored, which is a position that he has taken since before the Supreme Court released its decision.
"Well, look, I'm an old-fashioned person here, and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I've also said the court has ruled … and I said we'll accept it," the 63-year-old Kasich argued. "And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn't think the way I do, doesn't mean that I can't care about them or can't love them."
"So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That is what we are taught when we have strong faith," he continued. "So, look, I'm going to love my daughters, I'm going to love them no matter what they do. Because, you know what? God gives me unconditional love. I'm going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me."
Although Kasich's response drew applause from the hometown crowd at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena, it also drew criticism from prominent social conservative activists.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins tweeted during the debate, wondering whether Kasich thought the 1973 decision in Roe V. Wade should be accepted as the law of the land for abortion as well — a thought many conservatives detest.
"If I would have been asking a follow up question, his response was 'the court's rule, I accept it.' My question would be: 'Is that your view on Roe v. Wade?' Because if it is, you can't be pro-life," Perkins told The Christian Post on Friday.
"It tells me that he is a judicial supremacist and believes that the court has final say on all issues. I would assume that means on the Second Amendment. I would assume that means on the right to life and on private property rights. John Kasich's view would suggest that we can save the country a lot of money by eliminating the Congress by letting the court's rule the country."
Perkins continued by arguing that Kasich was "out of place," being in the primetime debate.
"That tells me that he is willing to heed everything to the courts," Perkins added. "That tells me that he is not qualified to be president of the United States."
Ryan T. Anderson, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, wasted no time in tweeting his opposition to Kasich saying that believing in traditional marriage is not an "old-fashioned" stance.
"It's not "old fashioned" to say men and women aren't interchangeable and kids deserve a mom and dad," Anderson wrote.
Princeton law professor Robert George, who along with Anderson co-authored What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, questioned whether or not Kasich fully supports the traditional marriage argument.
"'I'm old fashioned' is the worst reason I've heard for supporting true marriage," George tweeted "Truly, it's a signal that the candidate doesn't support it."
During the first debate of the evening, which included the second-tier Republican candidates who did not score high enough in national polling to be included in the primetime debate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was asked if he thought same-sex marriage is a settled issue in light of the Supreme Court's ruling.
Santorum, who has been outspoken in his opposition to same-sex marriage, reasoned that the Obergefell decision was no better than the 1857 Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford that stated that African-Americans had no claim to freedom or citizenship.
"It is not anymore than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln, who in his first inaugural address said it won't stand and they went ahead and passed laws in direct contravention to a rogue Supreme Court," Santorum said. "This is a rogue Supreme Court decision, just like [Chief] Justice [John] Roberts said. There is no constitutional basis basis for the Supreme Court decision."
Santorum also stated that when he was in Congress, he helped overrule a "rogue" Supreme Court decision in 2000 stating partial-birth abortion bans were deemed unconstitutional through the passage of the 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
"The Supreme Court found a bill that I was the author of unconstitutional. What did I do? I didn't stop and say 'Oh well, we lost, it's the law of the land,'" Santorum said. "We worked together, the House and Senate, under my leadership and we passed a bill and we said, 'Supreme Court, you are wrong. We are a co-equal branch of the government and we have every right to be able to say what is constitutional.' We passed a bill with bipartisan support and the Supreme Court, they sided with us."