Republican presidential hopefuls are lining up behind a controversial Indiana law that allows businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers by invoking religious freedom.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence did “the right thing” — despite calls from some businesses to boycott the state over the law.
“This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to be able to be people of conscience,” Bush said, suggesting the critics don’t know enough about the law. “I think once the facts are established, people aren’t going to see this as discriminatory at all.”
Bush noted that Florida has a similar law and that President Bill Clinton signed a federal measure, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, into law in 1993. Some legal analysts, however, have noted that the Indiana law is more broadly written than most state laws or the federal law.
Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio also backed the law during an appearance on Fox News.
“Nobody is saying that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or at a hotel because of their sexual orientation,” Rubio said. “I think that’s a consensus view in America.” But Rubio asked whether a photographer should be “punished for refusing to do a wedding that their faith teaches them is not one that is valid in the eyes of God?”
The White House last week decried Pence’s decision to sign the legislation, with Press Secretary Josh Earnest saying that it “doesn’t seem like it’s a step in the direction of equality and justice and liberty for all Americans.”