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GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz was grilling pork chops in front of TV cameras at the Iowa State Fair on Friday when a petite passerby approached him to ask, "What about the question of LGBT people being fired for just strictly being gay or trans?"
The persistent questioner, in a baseball cap and sunglasses, was Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page, who was attending the fair on behalf of a show she's making for Vice.
Page and Cruz then engaged in a five-minute debate, which ABC captured on camera, about religious liberty and discrimination against LGBT people. The two covered topics from Islamic State to same-sex marriage, with Cruz apparently unaware that he was speaking with the star of the 2007 movie "Juno" and the "X-Men" franchise.
Page, who came out as gay in a speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference last year, has long been vocal about politics offscreen, including animal rights and birth control access. For her Vice show, Page is visiting homophobic countries, including, yes, the U.S.
The 28-year-old Canadian will soon be tackling an LGBT issue on the big screen as well, in her upcoming movie "Freeheld." Based on Cynthia Wade's Oscar-winning short documentary and adapted by "Philadelphia" screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, "Freeheld" tells the true story of a cancer-stricken New Jersey police officer (Julianne Moore) fighting to pass on her pension benefits to her domestic partner (Page).
In a recent interview with Glamour magazine, Page said that making "Freeheld" had inspired her to publicly announce her sexual identity.
"I thought, 'How can I make this film if I’m a closeted person?' " Page said. "Keeping that part of myself hidden was affecting my work, my ambition, my relationships. It was a constant burden—it was so toxic. As a gay woman, playing a gay character is a pretty monumental moment."