Jeb Bush Wades into Controversial Georgia Religious Liberty Debate

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Washington, DC

According to an Atlanta Journal Constitution report, Georgia lawmakers supporting “religious liberty” efforts at the state Capitol doubled-down Wednesday by introducing a second bill to prevent government intrusion on faith-based beliefs.

That puts prospective GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush squarely in the middle of a contentious debate he may have been trying to avoid when he waded into the controversy Thursday–without seemingly taking a clear stand on any specific legislation. The excerpt below is from Thursday’s report:

In remarks to a handful of reporters, Bush also gave a tacit endorsement to the push for a “religious liberty” measure. Supporters say the legislation, Senate Bill 129, would provide an extra layer of protection against government intrusion on religious rights, while opponents see it as a “license to discriminate.”

The key less than statesman-like phrase is Jeb claiming to not know about the particular law, while appearing to back it. In a word, Jeb appears Clinton-esque here: “I don’t know about this law, but religious freedom is a serious issue and is increasingly so,” said Bush. “People that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against, for sure. There should be protections.”

This has led to attacks from the Left, including from AlterNet, the Washington Blade, and others. At some point, Jeb Bush is going to have to take a stand a bit more coherent than the one he appeared to take Thursday in Atlanta. In an article entitled “Jeb Bush Met Ludacris Today. Oh, And Said Same-Sex Marriage Could Make People Unemployed,” the New Civil Rights Movement reports:

So, with that in mind, Jeb Bush talked with Georgia lawmakers today on the subject of “religious freedom” and same-sex marriage.

“Religious freedom is a serious issue, and it’s increasingly so, and I think people that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against for sure and there should be protections,” Bush told lawmakers, as the Washington Post reports.