Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday partially defended a new religious-freedom law in Indiana that critics say sanctions discrimination against same-sex couples.
At issue is an Indiana law, signed Thursday by Republican Gov. Mike Pence, that allows people (including businesses), when they’re sued for discrimination, to argue that the allegedly discriminatory behavior was an expression of their faith. Supporters say that’s a common-sense defense of the freedom to practice one’s own religion, while critics say that it would give businesses legal cover for antigay discrimination.
Rubio, speaking on Fox News, appeared sympathetic to the former argument: “I think the fundamental question in some of these laws is should someone be discriminated against because of their religious views. So no one is saying here that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or a hotel because of their sexual orientation,” he said.
“Should someone who provides a professional service be punished by the law because they refuse to provide that professional service to a ceremony that that they believe is in violation of their faith? I think people have a right to live out their religious faith in their own lives,” Rubio said.
Spokespeople for Rubio—who is expected to announce later this month that he’s running for president—were not available for further clarification of his stance on the law.
Rubio’s remarks come amid a national furor over the Indiana law. LGBT-rights groups have called for a boycott, and political organizations and businesses have pulled plans to do business in Indiana.
Along with the fight between social conservatives and gay-rights advocates, the law has also produced a divide between traditional Republican constituencies. Business-oriented groups such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce are opposing the measure and similar ones that have been introduced in states nationwide, while socially conservative religious organizations are strongly in favor.
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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.