Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is supporting one of the most controversial and discriminatory laws against LGBT people in modern US history.
Speaking at a town hall in Buffalo, New York, the Texas Senator was asked about the recently passed law in North Carolina, which makes it illegal for transgender people to use bathrooms of their natural gender and instead restricts them to using the public bathroom of their birth gender.
“As the father of daughters, I’m not terribly excited about men being able to go along into a bathroom with my daughters,” Mr Cruz said, as reported by ABC news. ”Listen, the Obama education department is going against a junior high insisting that the junior high must allow a teenage boy to shower with teenage girls. Now, that’s just nuts. I mean, that’s not a reasonable decision. That’s crazy.”
Mr Cruz added at another town hall event with MSNBC that a law which says “men should not be going to the bathroom with little girls” is ” a perfectly reasonable determination for the people to make."
The so-called bathroom bill has rippled across other states like Tennessee, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Republican governor of North Carolina Pat McCrory’s decision to enforce the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act caused a national outcry and prompted PayPal to scrap its plans to build a global operational center in the state.
Mr Cruz's views may not come as a suprise. In a recent town hall in North Carolina, Mr Cruz was joined by three of his top supporters: Charlotte pastor and congressional candidate Mark Harris, as well as David and Jason Benham, the brothers whose house renovation television show was cancelled in 2014 when their anti-gay activism was revealed. Their support for the anti-LGBT law helped to push it through, as reported by Mother Jones.
Mr Cruz appointed the three men along with 16 other Christian leaders to his advisory council for religious liberty, which could have an impact far wider than one state if he enters the White House.
Also in the group is Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, which has been designated an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Anti-LGBT views run in the family. Ted Cruz’s father Rafael Cruz was an outspoken critic of the former Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, who is a lesbian.
Mr Cruz’s wife Heidi also strongly opposed a 2014 Houston ballot measure to offer protections to LGBT individuals. She did not participate in the vote and no longer serves on the Greater Houston Partnership Board.
In the run-up to the New York primary on 19 April, Mr Cruz is polling behind Donald Trump.
He took the rare step of appearing on Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show", mocking Mr Trump and saying he will not "pander" to New York's "values".
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