Does he? Via RCP, watch the CNN clip below excerpting Cruz’s speech on Saturday in Iowa. Quote: “Senator Ted Cruz, speaking before the Iowa Faith and Freedom Summit, called Democrats who support gay marriage ‘fascist.'” Then watch the second clip below of the full speech; the key bit, from which CNN’s excerpts are taken, comes at around 14:00. As you’ll see, it’s not Democrats who back SSM whom he’s describing as “fascist,” it’s Democrats who support driving people out of business for asserting a religious-conscience exemption from serving gay weddings. If Cruz thought backing gay marriage was itself inherently fascist, presumably his legislative remedy would be something stronger than letting each state decide whether to legalize the practice, which is his actual position. Given that somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of his own party supports legalizing SSM, with that number destined to rise as younger Republicans replace older ones in the electorate, it’d be … unhelpful to his political future to insult them by dropping the F-bomb. Encouraging infringements of religious liberty, not promoting gay marriage, is the touchstone of “fascism” as I understand him here. And yes, as righties like me and Gabe Malor at Ace’s blog can attest, it’s possible to oppose the former while supporting the latter.

The irony of Cruz talking fascism here is that he said this 24 hours or so before gay businessman Ian Reisner was intimidated into apologizing for hosting a reception for Cruz by threats of financial ruin from gay activists. How’s that apology working so far? Not well, notes Dave Weigel:

“Anyone who has heard Ted Cruz speak for one minute knows how virulently anti-gay he is!” wrote Ken Benson, a vocal consultant. “It is a source of great pride to him and hatred of gays is in his DNA. Sorry, it is impossible to believe you are THAT naive. I will never understand homophobic gays!!”

“It is quite simply impossible to believe that you did not understand Cruz’ position on gay rights,” wrote Peter Pfeffer, a photographer. “You will have to come up with a better excuse than that. Nobody can be that naive or stupid.”

“This shows how white cis gendered gay men who have money feel about our movement,” wrote Bryan John Ellicott, a supervisor at a center for homeless youth. “Cruz will not help our LGBT homeless youth or our transgender community who are the movement targeted groups in the community. Apology NOT accepted.”

The way shaming is supposed to work is that the shamed person suffers, admits the error of his ways, and then is accepted back into his community chastened. It’s a form of correction and redemption. The problem with that approach if you’re an ideological fanatic, though, is that it tolerates error implicitly. Offending the community isn’t a fatal mistake; all that’s needed is an apology. Maybe we’re reaching the point now of gay-rights thought-policing where those guilty of serious infractions like spending two hours chatting cordially about Israel with a pol who opposes SSM deserve the metaphorical death penalty, lifetime expulsion from the group. What an exciting new frontier of “progress.”