A controversial law in Indiana has made its way into the 2016 presidential race. Supporters praise the Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s for protecting religious convictions, but the law has drawn wide criticism from those who say it allows businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian patrons.
Would-be candidates on the GOP side mostly defended the law. “I don’t think Americans want to discriminate against anyone,” Sen. Marco Rubio said on Fox News. “I think the fundamental question in some of these laws is should someone be discriminated against because of their religious views?”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took a different approach, saying he doesn’t intend to get involved with it or anticipate a similar bill coming to his desk. “In our state there’s a balance between wanting to make sure that there’s not discrimination [and] at the same time respecting religious freedoms. … We do that in different ways than what they’ve done in Indiana,” he said at a press conference.
And on the lonely Democratic side, Hillary Clinton weighed in, tweeting her opposition to the law.
Here’s what the 2016 presidential contenders have said:
Jeb Bush, to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt
“I think if you, if they actually got briefed on the law that they wouldn’t be blasting this law. I think Gov. Pence has done the right thing. Florida has a law like this. Bill Clinton signed a law like this at the federal level.
“This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to have, to be able to be people of conscience. I just think once the facts are established, people aren’t going to see this as discriminatory at all.”
Ben Carson, to Breitbart News
“It is absolutely vital that we do all we can to allow Americans to practice their religious ways, while simultaneously ensuring that no one’s beliefs infringe upon those of others. We should also serve as champions of freedom of religion throughout the world.”
Hillary Clinton, on Twitter
“Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love #LGBT”
Ted Cruz, on Twitter
“I’m proud to stand with Gov. @mike_pence for religious liberty, and I urge Americans to do the same.”
“I don’t think Americans want to discriminate against anyone. I think the fundamental question in some of these laws is should someone be discriminated against because of their religious views? So no one here is saying it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or a hotel because of their sexual orientation. I think that’s a consensus view in America. The flip side of it is, though, should a photographer be punished for refusing to do a wedding that their faith teaches them is not one that is valid in the eyes of God.”
Gov. Scott Walker, in a press conference
“In our state there’s a balance between wanting to make sure that there’s not discrimination [and] at the same time respecting religious freedoms. … We do that in different ways than what they’ve done in Indiana.
“Certainly that’s going to be part of the debate here and across the country.”