Tags: Jeb Bush | Indiana | religious freedom | Mike Pence

NYT: Jeb Bush Backs Off Initial Enthusiasm for Indiana Law

Image: NYT: Jeb Bush Backs Off Initial Enthusiasm for Indiana Law
(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 11:16 AM

Florida's Republican former Gov. Jeb Bush, seen preparing for a run at the presidency in 2016, has softened his endorsement of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), dropping his initial enthusiastic approval in favor of saying Indiana should have taken a "consensus-oriented" approach when framing the law.

Speaking before a Silicon Valley fundraiser at the Four Seasons in East Palo Alto, California, Bush, while not criticizing Indiana's Republican Gov. Mike Pence for signing the state's RFRA, which set off a firestorm of protest from LGBT and business interests, held up Utah as an example of the way Indiana should have proceeded in passing the law, The New York Times reported.

In Utah, where Mormon Church and LGBT leaders conferred before a RFRA law was written and passed, Bush said: "They figured it out and they passed a law, and there wasn't a bunch of, you know, yelling and screaming. That to me seems like a better approach to dealing with this."

Bush's stance appeared to back slightly off from comments he made Monday night in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, in which he said, "I think if you, if they actually got briefed on the law that they wouldn't be blasting this law. I think Gov. Pence has done the right thing. Florida has a law like this. Bill Clinton signed a law like this at the federal level.

"This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to have, to be able to be people of conscience. I just think once the facts are established, people aren't going to see this as discriminatory at all."

"There are many cases where people acting on their conscience have been castigated by the government. And this law simply says the government has to have a level of burden to be able to establish that there's been some kind of discrimination," Bush told Hewitt.

"We're going to need this. This is really an important value for our country to, in a diverse country, where you can respect and be tolerant of people's lifestyles, but allow for people of faith to be able to exercise theirs."

Other Republican potential presidential contenders, from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Ben Carson, have backed the Indiana law, while Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he endorses the "principle" of the statute, CNN reports.

Indiana's RFRA has been sent back to the legislature to "fix" problems of alleged discrimination, Pence has said, while Arkansas' Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has sent a similar bill back for revision before he would agree to sign it, CNN notes.

Bush told the Silicon Valley group: "By the end of the week, I think Indiana will be in the right place, which is to say that we need, in a big diverse country like America, we need to have space for people to act on their conscience, that it is a constitutional right that religious freedom is a core value of our country," but added, "we shouldn't discriminate based on sexual orientation," the Times reported.

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Florida's Republican former Gov. Jeb Bush, seen preparing for a run at the presidency in 2016, has softened his endorsement of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Jeb Bush, Indiana, religious freedom, Mike Pence
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2015-16-02
Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 11:16 AM
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