— -- Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich said Friday that he thinks gay people are "probably" born that way, and he sees no reason to discriminate against homosexuals.
The remarks came during an intense exchange between the Ohio governor and a 62-year-old gay man at a town-hall style meeting. San Francisco resident Kelly Bryan repeatedly asked Kasich if he believed gay people were born gay.
"Do I think that people are, you know, born gay?" Kasich said, after Bryan pressed him several times. "Probably. I’ve never studied the issue, but I don’t see any reason to hurt you or discriminate [against] you or make you feel bad or make you feel like a second-class citizen."
Later in the day Kasich said that some of his fellow party members are alienating Hispanic voters with scare tactics that could hurt the GOP in November's general election.
"Do the Republicans actually think that they can win an election by scaring every Hispanic in this country to death?" Kasich told reporters at the California GOP convention in San Francisco, being held ahead of the state's June 7 primary. "Scaring them to the point that they are afraid that their families are going to be torn apart and disrupted? Do you have any idea what those folks are going to do in a general election?"
Kasich touted his endorsement on Thursday by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The business group backed Kasich as well as Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side of the presidential race.
Donald Trump protesters, who congregated outside the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport hotel, marred the convention before Kasich arrived Friday night.
"When you live on the negative side, when you feed people’s anger -- you see what happened here today? I heard about it," Kasich said before addressing attendees. "People chaining themselves to a fence trying to prevent somebody from coming -- I mean, you see what's happening? OK? Well, I may not be winning those votes right now, but over time I believe the people will like to live where they can be hopeful."