GOP Presidential Hopefuls Back Religious Freedom

Backlash against Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act reached a new height Monday as celebrities, politicians, businesses, and individuals jumped on the viral campaign #BoycottIndiana. They protested the recent passing of the controversial law because its vague language could allow businesses to deny services to members of the LGBT community. But likely Republican presidential candidates defended the "religious freedom" law as well as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who signed the bill into law on Thursday.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal were a handful of outspoken presidential hopefuls that spoke out in recent days. Rather than focus on its potential impact on the LGBT community, the GOP politicians said the law preserved individual's religious liberties as protected by the First Amendment.

While the Democratic presidential nomination appears all but secured by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who has yet to officially announce her candidacy — the Republican playing field is wide open. With extensive media coverage currently on the state of Indiana, the "religious freedom" law has become an ample opportunity for Republican presidential candidates to get an early shot at future voters. The loud rumbling from these GOP contenders is a major sign of what's to come this 2016 election season.

Marco Rubio

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Rubio, who is expected to announce whether he will run for president on April 13, told Fox News on Monday that he believes the government shouldn't punish people for not providing professional services that violates their faith.

Nobody is saying that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or at a hotel because of their sexual orientation. I think that's a consensus view in America. The flip side 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?

Ted Cruz

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Cruz, who announced his candidacy earlier this month, said in a statement that he stood with Pence and urged Americans to do the same. He said the First Amendment was under a "concerted assault."

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.

Jeb Bush

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In a Monday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Bush denied the "religious freedom" law was discriminatory and said there were many instances when the government burdened people who were simply "acting on their conscience."

This law simply says the government has to have a level of burden to be able to establish there has been some kind of discrimination. We’re going to need this. This is really an important value in our country, where you can respect and be tolerant of people’s lifestyles but allow for people of faith to exercise theirs.

Bobby Jindal

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In an email to Breitbart News, Jindal said he supported the law because he supports the religious liberty guaranteed by the 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.

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