No One Predicted This Republican's Gay Marriage Response, But Now He's Winning Points For It

"We need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect."

The first GOP presidential debate on Thursday night aired to a record viewership and incited fervent post-debate discussion. While the expected conservative rhetoric appeared in abundance, Ohio Gov. John Kasich stood out from the rest with his views on gay marriage.

When asked how he would justify his opposition to same-sex marriage if he had a child who was gay, Kasich's response was surprisingly heartening: 

I'm an old-fashioned person and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I've also said that the [Supreme Court] has ruled … and I said we'll accept it. 

And guess what? I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who is gay. Because somebody doesn't think the way I do, doesn't mean that I can't care about them or I can't love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them ... We need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect and let them share in this great American dream that we have.

Look, I'm gonna love my daughters no matter what they do, because you know what? God gives me unconditional love, I'm gonna give it to my family, my friends and the people around me.

And the audience's response to his reply was even better.

Kasich's answer garnered one of the loudest cheers of the night. It was in stark contrast to the audience at the 2011 GOP debate booing Army Capt. Stephen Hill, a gay Iraq veteran, when he spoke well of the military's repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

And though it might seem strange to commend this crowd for not booing a positive response to marriage equality, it just further proves the stunning progress made on the gay rights front in the past few years alone. 

Not all Republican lawmakers hold the same view, of course, particularly those appealing to voters on the extreme right. But lest we forget, the year is 2015 and the candidates who continue to oppose gay marriage may just end up alienating a large portion of the American people. 

Cover image via Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images