Bobby Jindal on Civil Rights
Republican Governor; previously Representative (LA-1)
JINDAL: [After immigration orders], I would sign an executive order protecting religious liberty, our first amendment rights, so Christian business owners and individuals don't face discrimination for having a traditional view of marriage.
The more conservative members of this Republican field--among them Sen. Cruz; Sen. Santorum; Gov. Bobby Jindal; and Gov. Mike Huckabee--have aggressively emphasized their opposition to same-sex marriage. For them, the issue can be used to differentiate themselves not just from Democrats but from mainstream Republicans, like Jeb Bush, who is trying to appeal to a broader audience with an eye to the general election.
Jindal was critical of Republican lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas who backed down on laws that proponents say protect religious freedom, while Rubio declared that "the institution of marriage as one man and one woman existed long before our laws existed."
The Louisiana governor's speech was interrupted twice by standing ovations as he pledged his support for a religious freedom law in his home state that's as strong as the one enacted in Indiana. The Republican governor there, Mike Pence, prodded his legislature to enact a "fix" after threats of boycotts on the state and massive backlash from the business community.
Jindal said he won't back down. "Corporate America is not going to bully the governor of Louisiana," he said. "Here's my message to Hollywood: the United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America." Both lines got him standing ovations.
JINDAL: This is about business owners that don't want to have to choose between their Christian faith, and being able to operate their businesses. What they don't want is the government to force them to participate in wedding ceremonies that contradict their beliefs. I was disappointed [that the law was overturned] in Indiana.
Q: So it's OK based on religious conviction for a business to deny services to a same-sex couple?
JINDAL: JINDAL: We're not talking about day-to-day routine commercial transactions. We're talking about a very specific example here of business owners--florists, musicians, caterers--who are being forced to either pay thousands or close their businesses if they don't want to participate in a wedding ceremony that contradicts their religious beliefs. So in that instance, yeah, I think part of the First Amendment means that we allow individuals to obey their conscience, to obey their religious beliefs.
JINDAL: Look, let me see the details of the bill. I am, in general though, very supportive other defending religious liberty. And I think we can do that without condoning discrimination. I don't think those two values are mutually exclusive. And I think that's what this debate has been really about. I think we can have religious liberty without having discrimination. I think it's possible to have both. And it's desirable to have both in our society.
A: I think there is a way to find common ground to say 'we don't have to agree with the content of each other's beliefs, but we do stand up for the rights of each other to have those beliefs.' What I think is dangerous is this idea that we are going to try to silence those we don't agree with, to say 'we don't want them to be on TV shows; we don't want them to run their businesses.' I believe in the traditional definition of marriage. I don't condone discrimination. l think again here that tone matters. I think it is important that at the same time that we articulate our deeply held religious beliefs I think it is also important to communicate a tone that says 'we don't accept discrimination' and we understand that there will be those who disagree with us."
When I speak to national reporters, some shoot me a mock sympathetic look, as if to say, "It's okay, I know you can't really believe those things, I know you just have to say that stuff to get elected here in the Deep South." They believe either I don't really hold these socially conservative viewpoints, or I'm really not that smart.
Once, a New York Times reporter only wanted to talk about issues that concerned him personally--issues on which he disagreed with me, like sam -sex marriage, abortion, and the origins of life. Of course, I have strong views on those topics, but they were not major issues in the campaign, partly because my Democratic opponent held similar conservative views to my own on many of these questions.
A: Well, yes, and they are important to me. I’m pro-life and I certainly support the traditional definition of marriage. But my advice to Sen. McCain is to continue to be himself. And I think that’s what people respect so much about him. He is famous for doing these town hall meetings. These questions will come up, and I think he should be honest in addressing them. I think he should talk about the fact he is pro-life. I think he should talk about the fact that he supports the traditional view of marriage. He and I disagree. He would leave it to the states. I think, with some of the recent court rulings, I would actually prefer a constitutional amendment. But I wouldn’t advocate that he do anything other than be himself.
Proponents support voting YES because:
The overwhelming majority of the American people support traditional marriage, marriage between a man and a woman. The people have a right to know whether their elected Representatives agree with them about protecting traditional marriage.
Every child deserves both a father and a mother. Studies demonstrate the utmost importance of the presence of a child's biological parents in a child's happiness, health and future achievements. If we chip away at the institution which binds these parents and the family together, the institution of marriage, you begin to chip away at the future success of that child.
Opponents support voting NO because:
This amendment does not belong in our Constitution. It is unworthy of our great Nation. We have amended the Constitution only 27 times. Constitutional amendments have always been used to enhance and expand the rights of citizens, not to restrict them. Now we are being asked to amend the Constitution again, to single out a single group and to say to them for all time, you cannot even attempt to win the right to marry.
From what precisely would this amendment protect marriage? From divorce? From adultery? No. Evidently, the threat to marriage is the fact that there are millions of people in this country who very much believe in marriage, who very much want to marry but who are not permitted to marry. I believe firmly that in the not-too-distant future people will look back on these debates with the incredulity with which we now view the segregationist debates of years past.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 HRC scores as follows:
The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of more than 700,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where GLBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
Ever since its founding in 1980, HRC has led the way in promoting fairness for GLBT Americans. HRC is a bipartisan organization that works to advance equality based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 NAACP scores as follows:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has worked over the years to support and promote our country's civil rights agenda. Since its founding in 1909, the NAACP has worked tirelessly to end racial discrimination while also ensuring the political, social, and economic equality of all people. The Association will continue this mission through its policy initiatives and advocacy programs at the local, state, and national levels. From the ballot box to the classroom, the dedicated workers, organizers, and leaders who forged this great organization and maintain its status as a champion of social justice, fought long and hard to ensure that the voices of African Americans would be heard. For nearly one hundred years, it has been the talent and tenacity of NAACP members that has saved lives and changed many negative aspects of American society.
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