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Watch Elliot Page grill a Republican on LGBTQ+ rights

The Juno star got into a heated debate with Texas senator Ted Cruz over religious freedom and LGBTQ+ discrimination

It’s hard being a presidential candidate. In an ideal world, you’d just reel off a few ready-written jokes, carry the odd baby, then answer questions you’ve already had a whole team of advisors figure out the answers to. But – as Republican candidate Ted Cruz realised yesterday – this is no ideal world. There’s always going to be something that’s going to kill your carefully crafted buzz. And on Friday, that just so happened to be Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page.

The Texas senator got into a heated debate with the Juno star over LGBTQ+ rights and religious liberty while manning the pork chops at the Iowa State Fair. Challenging Cruz on his opposition to a bill banning discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation (ENDA), Page asked for his opinions on Americans losing their jobs “strictly for being gay or trans”. He then asserted his worries that religious freedom would be used to excuse radical views against the LGBTQ+ community.

Cruz – a religious liberty enthusiast who was wearing an apron with the words, ‘Pork: Be Inspired’ at the time – was quick to defend his ’biblical’ views. “What we’re seeing right now is actually Bible-believing Christians being persecuted,” he replied, before claiming there was a “liberal intolerance” against “anyone that dares follow the biblical teaching of marriage”. He was talking specifically about Dick and Betty Odegaard, the Iowa couple who refused to host a gay couple’s wedding because it clashed with their religious beliefs. 

Page, who has been a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights since coming out in 2014, rightly dismissed the Texas senator’s arguments as being a return to the “segregation era”. 

“There needs to be more tolerance for LGBTQ+ people,” he added. “It used to be illegal and they were thrown in jail... they have come a really long way.”