NEW YORK, April 18 (UPI) -- Presidential candidate Ted Cruz invoked religious liberty in response to a question about anti-gay discrimination from a gay New York Republican at Monday's town hall meeting on Good Morning America.
Todd Calogne, a married gay man and registered Republican who owns a pizza parlor in New York City, asked Cruz about protecting the rights of gays.
"I've noticed a lot of 'religious freedom' laws and somewhat institutionalized discrimination laws happening around the country," he said, likely referring to the so-called "bathroom" laws passed in North Carolina and Mississippi. "What would you as president do to protect me and my husband from that institutionalized discrimination?"
"When it comes to religious liberty, religious liberty is something that protects all of us," Cruz responded. "It applies to Christians, it applies to Jews, it applies to Muslims, it applies to atheists. All of us we want to live in a world where we don't have the government dictating our beliefs, dictating how we live. We have a right to live according to our faith, according to our conscience. That freedom ultimately protects each and every one of us. We shouldn't have the right to force others to knuckle under and give up their faith, give up their belief."
Show host Robin Roberts then said, "But when you talk about freedom, what he referred to with his husband a lot of people would say, doesn't everybody have the freedom to be treated equally, don't we all have the freedom to be equal?"
Cruz didn't directly answer the question..
Another host, George Stephanopoulos, then questioned Cruz's support for a federal marriage amendment.
"I am a constitutionalist," Cruz responded. "And under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states. That has been the case since the very beginning of this country – that it's been up to the states. And so if someone wants to change the marriage laws I don't think it should be five unelected lawyers down in Washington dictating that. And even if you happen to agree with that particular decision, why would you want to hand over every important public policy issue to five unelected lawyers who aren't accountable to you, who don't work for you. Instead, convince your fellow citizens to change the laws."
Cruz also spoke about his opponent, front-runner Donald Trump.
When asked about Trump calling the primary process "rigged," Cruz responded by saying: "Donald is not a complicated man to understand. He doesn't handle losing well."
On Saturday, Cruz won 14 of 14 Republican National Convention delegates up for grabs at the Wyoming state convention.
Cruz fielded questions from 100 registered Republicans in ABC News' Times Square studio one day before the New York primary.
The latest poll, released Friday by WNBC/WSJ/Marist, had Cruz with the support of only 18 percent of Republicans in New York, compared with 54 percent for Trump and 21 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Later Monday, Cruz headed to Maryland for a meet-and-greet in Bethesda in late morning and a rally in the afternoon in Towson.