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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio's run-in with a gay man



MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A gay man confronted Marco Rubio on Monday over his opposition to same-sex marriage, an unscripted moment in a day of stagecraft from the Florida presidential candidate.

"So Marco, being a gay man, why do you want to put me back in the closet," Timothy Kierstead asked the candidate at The Puritan Backroom.

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

"By God," Kierstead replied. "You want separate church and state." He told Rubio he had been married for a long time and you want to say we don't matter."

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

Kierstead: "But that's your belief."

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

The New Hampshire legislature legalized same-sex marriage in 2009.

Kierstead told Rubio that gay marriage is legal, to which Rubio said, "I respect your view."

"Typical politician," Kierstead said as Rubio walked away.

The exchange came as Rubio spent money on a charm offensive Monday, popping into restaurants and shops to win over New Hampshire's famous last-minute deciders.

The Puritan Backroom, according to pool reporting by the Washington Post's Sean Sullivan, is "a restaurant founded by Greek immigrants almost a hundred years ago and known for its 'world-famous' chicken tenders, which Rubio’s youngest son Dominick sampled straight from the kitchen."

[Last modified: Monday, February 8, 2016 5:55pm]


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