The kerfuffle over a new law taking effect on July 1, 2015, in Indiana seems to have reached a fever pitch. The bill is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and is modeled after a federal law signed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Some twenty other states also have similar laws, the purpose of which serve to establish a test that judges can employ when determining if the government can compel an individual to violate his or her religious views when a matter comes before the court. Opponents of the law are claiming it provides a “license to discriminate” against homosexuals or other minorities. Supporters point out that it has been on the books for decades and many states, as well as the federal government, have the same law and no such discrimination has been documented. Governor Mike Pence (R) has taken the brunt of the blow-back and has been tirelessly defending his decision to sign the bill since last week.
CBS News gathered some of the 2016 candidate reactions and I have compiled them below.
Hillary’s reaction is notable, especially considering her husband signed the first Religious Freedom Restoration Act law into effect back in 1993 at the federal level:
Statements from some of the others on the Republican side:
“I support the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act because I support religious liberty as granted to us in our Constitution.”
“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.”
“The issue we’re talking about here is, should someone who provides a professional service be punished by the law because they refuse to provide that professional service to a ceremony that they believe is in violation to their faith? I think people have a right to live out their religious faith in their own lives. They can’t impose it on you and 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.”
“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.”
I went searching but couldn’t find any remarks from other potential Democratic contenders.