At a town hall event in Iowa last week, Marco Rubio was asked to address the controversy which erupted over Indiana’s attempted passing last year of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While the questioner framed the law as “open[ing] up discrimination,” Rubio immediately disputed this narrative, arguing that true religious liberty protections are possible while also preventing discrimination. You can listen to Rubio’s response and read the transcript below:
QUESTIONER: My only fear is when you look at Mike Pence, from Indiana, passing a religious freedom law that was a little different from how President Clinton did it back in the 90s, which basically opened up discrimination, based on [inaudible].
RUBIO: Well, I don’t agree it opened up discrimination. I don’t believe in discrimination. But I can tell you this – we shouldn’t have a country where a pastor is threatened for losing their tax-exempt status because they refuse to conduct a same-sex ceremony. I don’t think we need to live in a country where a baker or a florist is threatened with a fine because they refused to participate in a specific event, not serve people. It is sinful to discriminate against people. But to be forced to participate in a ceremony, in an event that your faith teaches is immoral and wrong – no one should be forced to do that. You shouldn’t be forced to [inaudible].
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for the American Principles Project and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.