Rubio confronted by gay man in N.H.

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Timothy Kierstead (C-front), a married gay man from Manchester, New Hampshire, confronts U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R) over Rubio's position on gay marriage as Rubio visits The Puritan restaurant in Manchester, February 8, 2016. Rubio moved on when it was clear Kierstead favored lecture over conversation. | REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

MANCHESTER, N.H. (Christian Examiner) – After a disappointing final debate in New Hampshire in which he was savaged by Gov. Chris Christi for his memorized talking points, Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio had a tense encounter with a New Hampshire voter Feb. 8.

Rubio and his son were greeting patrons at a restaurant when they approached voter Timothy Kierstead, who was dining with his mother and his "husband."

"Why do you want to put me back in the closet?" Kierstead asked, setting Rubio on the defensive.

Rubio immediately replied, "I don't. You can live any way you want. I just believe marriage is between one man and one woman."

Kierstead, however, did not believe the response. He added, "By your God. By God. You separate church and state."

Kierstead said separation of church and state prevented Rubio from imposing his views on him, to which Rubio responded he wasn't interested in having a theocracy. Kierstead, however, wouldn't let the issue go, adding that he'd been married for a long time.

"You want to say we don't matter," Kierstead said.

"No, I just believe marriage is between one man and one woman," Rubio replied.

"But that's your belief," Kierstead said emphatically.

"I think that's what the law should be," Rubio said. "And if you disagree you should have the law changed by a legislature."

Kierstead then reminded Rubio that same-sex marriage was already legal in New Hampshire and in the United States. New Hampshire adopted same-sex marriage in 2010. The Supreme Court created the right to same-sex marriage in June 2015.

When Rubio told the man, "I respect your view," he chose to walk away from the discussion. Kierstead then fired back at Rubio.

"Typical politician. Walk away when you've got something [to say]," Kierstead said. He told reporters he would never vote for a Republican because "they want to put us back in the closet."