Potential Republican presidential
candidates have voiced their support for an Indiana bill that
supporters say protects religious freedom but critics argue targets
the LGBT community.
After facing a week of intense
criticism, Republican Governor Mike Pence retreated Tuesday and asked
lawmakers to “fix” the bill he signed. However, Pence repeated
that he's opposed to adding sexual orientation and gender identity to
the list of protected classes in the state's civil rights laws.
Pence calls for “fix” to “religious freedom” bill; Remains
opposed to LGBT protections.)
Texas Senator Ted Cruz released a
statement in support of Pence.
“I want to commend Governor Mike
Pence for his support of religious freedom, especially in the face of
fierce opposition,” Cruz said. “There was a time, not too long
ago, when defending religious liberty enjoyed strong bipartisan
support. Alas, today we are facing a concerted assault on the First
Amendment, on the right of every American to seek out and worship God
according to the dictates of his or her conscience. Governor Pence
is holding the line to protect religious liberty in the Hoosier
State. Indiana is giving voice to millions of courageous
conservatives across this country who are deeply concerned about the
ongoing attacks upon our personal liberties. I'm proud to stand with
Mike, and I urge Americans to do the same.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio weighed in
during an appearance on Fox News' The Five.
“I don't think Americans want to
discriminate against anyone,” Rubio said. “The flip side of it
is: 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. … I think the flip side of all of this debate is: what about
the religious liberties of Americans who do not want to feel
compelled by law to provide a catering service or a photography
service to a same sex marriage that their faith teaches them is
wrong. And that's a valid Constitutional concern as well.”
In a tweet to supporters, former
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said that he stands with Pence.
“I stand with @mikepence4gov in
defense of religious liberty and real tolerance,” he messaged.
Speaking at George Washington
University, he added: “Tolerance is a two-way street. If you're
saying that 'your religious liberties are not as important as my …
fill in the blank,' then I've got a problem with that.”
“It is absolutely vital that we do
all we can to allow Americans to practice their religious ways,”
Dr. Ben Carson told Breitbart, “while simultaneously ensuring that
no one's beliefs infringe upon those of others.”
In a statement given to Breitbart,
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal denied that the bill would allow
“The fact that there are some who
think this law in Indiana, which merely makes it clear that local
governments must respect our religious liberty, is controversial
clearly shows that religious liberty is indeed under attack. I
oppose discrimination and I reject the notion that the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act is discriminatory,” he said.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
said that Pence had “done the right thing” in signing the bill.