The controversial religious freedom law signed by Republican governor Mike Pence has found supporters among Republican 2016 election hopefuls.
Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Boby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Ben Carson are one in saying that religious people should also have the right to exercise their beliefs the same way gays and lesbians have the liberty to exercise their rights.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act gives individuals and businesses legal grounds to defend themselves against accusations of discrimination.
Religious people should be able to express their beliefs
CNN spotted the Republican 2016 hopefuls busy attending TV interviews to defend the highly debated religious freedom law.
In an interview with ABC, Bush said that the law is not discriminatory at all. He said the law simply allows people of faith to be able to express their beliefs and “to be able to be people of conscience.”
On Fox News, Rubio defended the law along the same line, saying that the religious freedom law does not allow anyone to deny service to gays and lesbians.
“The flip side is,” Rubio said, “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?”
He said there is a difference between the civil rights movement and the marriage equality movement. With the religious freedom law, “you’re talking about the definition of an institution, not the value of a single human being.”
“I think people have the right to live out their religious faith in their own lives. They can’t impose it on you in your life. But they have a right to live it out in their own lives. And when you’re asking someone who provides professional services to do something, or be punished by law, that violates their faith, you’re violating that religious liberty that they have,” Rubio elaborated.
Jindal said that his support of the controversial law is motivated by his support of religious liberty as granted by the Constitution.
“The great irony is that in the minds of today’s liberals the only bigotry to be tolerated is their own bigotry against religious beliefs,” Jindal said.
For Carson, the law allows all Americans to practice each and everyone’s religious belief, “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,” Carson said.
Santorum believes that the law defends religious liberty and real tolerance.
A spokeswoman for Walker told CNN that he believes in “broad religious freedom and the right for Americans to exercise their religion and act on their conscience.”
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act Is Misconstrued
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said they would clarify the law in-depth within this week. The clarification, first and foremost, will explain that the law does not allow people to discriminate other people on the basis of their sexual preferences.
He said the law is “misconstrued” by critics and gay rights supporters.
“Both the opponents and proponents were indicating they felt that the language allowed a denial of services to gay Hoosiers. That definitely wasn’t the intent, nor do I believe was it the effect, but we intend to take action to make it clear,” Bosma said, as quoted by The Washington Post.
The debate on religious freedom has displayed the “bad behavior” from debating parties, University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock said. Laycock is one of the most renowned law-and-religious scholars in the nation.
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“There’s bad behavior on both sides. Gay rights groups, as they become stronger and stronger and get more support for same-sex marriage, keep demanding more and more. Now they don’t want any religious exceptions for anybody.”
On the other hand, the Republicans are fueling the debate.
“Republican legislators are pandering to the base and saying we need to protect against gay marriage. These statements from the right fuel the outrage on the left.”
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