In the wake of the controversy surrounding both the Indiana and Arkansas religious liberty laws, presidential hopefuls have been weighing in either in defense or opposition to the laws.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina—both possible 2016 contenders—addressed the ongoing debate.
“Religious freedom laws are shields to protect individuals, not swords,” said Mike Huckabee in an emailed statement addressing the controversy over the religious liberty laws in both Indiana and Arkansas.
The former Arkansas Governor said RFRA is meant to protect and preserve the religious freedom of all American citizens.
“Where were the protests when President Clinton signed the original law back in 1993, which passed almost unanimously and when Senator Obama supported it in Illinois?” questioned Huckabee.
He added the substance of religious liberty laws hasn’t changed—“what has changed is the anger, deception and intolerance from those on the left who assault our religious liberties,” he added.
The recent events in Indiana and Arkansas also spurred Carly Fiorina to issue a statement saying that this is an important discussion the country needs to have.
“Too often, we see people who are prevented from practicing their religion because of a government mandate,” Fiorina posted on Facebook.
She said the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act is an important law because it protects these rights against government intrusion. Fiorina added that laws like this have never been a license to discriminate.
“The debate about gay marriage is really a debate about how the government bestows benefits and whether they should be bestowed equally. I believe they should. I also believe that people of religious conviction know that marriage is a religious institution with a spiritual foundation because only a man and a woman can create life, which is a gift that comes from God,” Fiorina explained.
She said Americans must find a balance to protect each other’s rights.
“I hope that we come to a place in this country where we are prepared to have respectful differences and tolerate those two views.” She believes religious liberties and tolerance are vital to this nation.
She framed the crisis as one based on phony information.
“It is frankly sad to me that politics has become a fact-free zone. It is sad that so many people on the left were quick to turn this into a divisive and destructive debate so they could further their own brand of identity politics,” she touted.
“We must find a way to respect one another, to celebrate a culture that protects religious freedom while condemning discrimination,” Fiorina added.
“Sadly many major corporations, organizations, and individuals have collapsed under the weight of the irrational pressure from the far left,” Huckabee said.