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Tales From the Trail: Kasich Challenged by College Student on Gay Marriage

While the rest of the Republican presidential candidates were trekking across South Carolina on Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich made his way across Michigan.
Image: GOP Presidential Candidate John Kasich Holds Town Hall In Michigan
Ohio Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich arrives at a Town Hall meeting February 16, 2016 in Livonia, Michigan. After Michigan, Kasich is heading back to South Carolina ahead of the state's primary on February 20. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Kasich challenged by college student over gay marriage

EAST LANSING, Mich. – While the rest of the Republican presidential candidates were trekking across South Carolina on Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich made his way across Michigan, a state he sees as critical for him in the coming weeks.

Kasich spoke to large crowds of college students, and found himself pressed on gay marriage by a student during a town hall at Michigan State University.

The student identified himself as a “staunch Democrat – always have been, always will be” before Kasich jokingly told him, “well that’s a good open mind. You don’t know that.” The student identified himself as gay and told Kasich he “faces discrimination daily and weekly,” and wanted to know the candidate’s views on same-sex marriage and LGBT protections under the law.

“If I see discrimination in anything, like I said earlier, I'm willing to do what I can,” Kasich said. “Whether it's executive order or legislation. That's fine with me. As for marriage equality - let me be clear I'm for traditional marriage but I've been to my first gay wedding. A friend of mine is gay and got married. I went home and said to my wife, we've been invited to Steve's wedding and you know, said this is going to be unusual for us. She said, well I'm going. Are you going? And I went. And I had a great time. And there was great champagne.”

The student pressed back, “I don't think that's enough for you to say you've been to a gay wedding.”

“Well, we're not changing any laws,” Kasich told him. “We're not changing. We're not going to allow discrimination on this.”

“So the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality,” the student noted. “Does that mean you would go out of your way to protect that right?”

Kasich ended the conversation. “Look, we're not changing any laws,” he said. “The court has spoken. That's the end of it.”

-- Kailani Koenig covering the Kasich campaign

Hillary Clinton's 'Lips are sealed'

NEW YORK -- Rev. Al Sharpton has yet to endorse a presidential candidate, but he seemed to tip his hat here on Tuesday after meeting with Hillary Clinton and other civil rights leaders.

Clinton sat down with influential black activists at the National Urban League to discuss "breaking down barriers."

Every candidate has been invited to similar meetings, organizers said, but Clinton's campaign was the first to reach out and accept.

During the discussion, Clinton continued to knock her rival, Bernie Sanders, for being a "single issue candidate."

Following the meeting, after being pressed by reporters about whether he was going to endorse Clinton, he turned to her and said: "Only you know and you're not telling."

Clinton laughed, looked down and replied: "My lips are sealed."

Sharpton later told reporters in a press conference that he was not prepared to endorse a candidate at this time.

He also said on Tuesday that he's always gotten along with Clinton, with one exception: "I think the only disagreement we had was when she didn't support me for president, but I got over it."

-- Monica Alba covering the Clinton campaign