Two gay New York hoteliers on Monday held a reception for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at their Manhattan apartment.
The New York Times reported the Texas Republican made no mention of his strong opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples during what the newspaper described as a dinner and “fireside chat” that took place at Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner’s penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park. Cruz’s wife was among the dozen people who attended the event.
Reisner told the New York Times that Cruz said during the event that “if one of my daughters was gay, I would love them just as much.” The Texas Republican also told those who attended the reception that Peter Thiel, a gay billionaire who co-founded PayPal, is a close friend.
Reisner owns the Out NYC, a gay-oriented hotel on Manhattan’s West Side. He purchased the Pavilion nightclub, the Blue Whale and other commercial properties in Fire Island Pines, New York, in January for $10.1 million.
A Facebook page calling for a boycott of the Out NYC and the Fire Island businesses that Reisner owns has received more than 1,400 likes since the New York Times published its article earlier on Thursday. It contains a picture of the Weiderpass with Cruz that was taken during the Manhattan reception.
“The man in the picture next to Ted Cruz, one of the most vociferous anti-gay politicians in contemporary history, is Mati Weiderpass, the co-owner, along with Ian Reisner, of ~75% of Fire Island Pines’ commercial district as well as the Out NYC Hotel in Manhattan,” reads a post beneath the picture. “Weiderpass, an out gay man, held a “reception” this past weekend for Senator Cruz. The question, among so many others, is, WHY???!!!”
Reisner on Friday responded to the growing controversy over his decision to host Cruz at his apartment.
The gay hotelier wrote on his Facebook page that he was “given the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Senator Ted Crus on where he stood on issues including the state of Israel and national security.” He said these are “the only places where we share common ground.
“For my entire adult life, I have been an ardent supporter and activist for gay rights and LGBT organizations worldwide,” wrote Reisner.
Reisner noted Out NYC earlier this year hosted a “Ready for Hillary” for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign that drew 900 people.
“Senator Ted Cruz and I disagree strongly on the issue of gay marriage, but having an open dialogue with those who have differing political opinions is a part of what this country was founded on,” wrote Reisner. “My tireless support of the gay community and its causes worldwide hasn’t changed and will not change.”
Cruz on March 23 officially announced his 2016 White House bid during a speech at Liberty University in Virginia.
Bloomberg reported the Texas Republican earlier this week introduced two bills seeking to protect states without marriage rights for same-sex couples from legal action. Cruz put forth these measures ahead of next week’s oral arguments in four gay nuptials cases that are before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cruz last month introduced a resolution that urged Congress to kill a D.C. bill that would protect LGBT students from discrimination in religious schools.