Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Gay Marriage | Ford OConnell | Indiana | Arkansas | backlash

Ford O'Connell: Backlash to Indiana Law 'Over the Top'

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 02:11 PM

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell says that the backlash to the Indiana religious freedom law has been "over the top" but that the proposed "fix" will help "the backlash go away."

"It's a perfect storm of basically unfounded hysteria coupled with legal ignorance, turbo-charged basically by the left's social intolerance," O'Connell told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Wednesday. 

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"Perception is reality in politics, but there is a quick fix to the Indiana law, and the backlash will go away," he explained.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has said that he plans to offer a clarification of the religious liberty law "in the days ahead, and we'll fix this and move forward."

Pence signed the measure into law last week. It says that laws in the Hoosier State cannot "substantially burden" Indiana residents from following their religious beliefs and applies to religious institutions, businesses, and associations as well. As a result, some have interpreted it to mean that gays and lesbians can be denied service by businesses if their owners oppose same-sex marriage.

While O'Connell says he thinks the Indiana law can and will be fixed, "unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the law that's up now in Arkansas."

"There's two principles at play here. One is the fact that the state cannot substantially burden a person's free exercise of religion under the First Amendment unless there is a compelling government interest," he explained.

"Point two is that when you are open to the public, you are open to everyone. That's a 1964 civil rights law when it comes to public accommodations," he said.

After backlash from Arkansas-based businesses such as Wal-Mart, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he won't sign the religious freedom bill until changes are made to make sure it doesn't allow for discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"Wal-Mart is concerned about perception and commerce, and they're afraid it's going to hurt their bottom line in other communities, not just in Bentonville, Arkansas," O'Connell added.

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Republican strategist Ford O'Connell says that the backlash to the Indiana religious freedom law has been "over the top" but that the proposed "fix" will help "the backlash go away."
Ford OConnell, Indiana, Arkansas, backlash
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2015-11-01
Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 02:11 PM
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