Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich Condemns North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law

By Adam Polaski • April 11, 2016 • 9:57 am

This weekend on CBS’ Face the Nation, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich responded to questions about North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2, which has incited tremendous backlash across the state – from businesses to public figures to LGBT people themselves. His response underlines how extreme this legislation is – and is a reminder of the growing number of conservatives who oppose extreme anti-LGBT measures.


The law knocks down municipalities’ ability to enact local ordinances protecting LGBT North Carolinians from discrimination and then codifies anti-transgender policies into state law. It was ramrodded through the North Carolina General Assembly on March 23, with just 12 hours from introduction to Governor Pat McCrory’s signature.

Kasich, who is the governor of Ohio, said this weekend:

“I wouldn’t have signed that law from everything I know; I haven’t studied it. You just got to see what the laws are and what the proposals are and why you need to write a law. Why do we have to write a law every time we turn around in this country? Can’t we figure out just how to get along a little bit better and respect one another? I mean, that’s where I think we ought to be. Everybody chill out.”

He continued: “Everybody needs to take a deep breath, respect one another, and the minute we start trying to write laws, things become more polarized, they become more complicated.”

For several months Kasich has spoken out against laws that could be used as a license to discriminate. He said in February, “If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree, okay, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced. If you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view.”

He added this weekend that he believes religious institutions “ought to be protected” to ensure that they can “live out their deeply held religious purposes. But when you get beyond that, it gets to be a tricky issue. And ‘tricky’ is not the right word, but it can become a contentious issue.”

Kasich is correct that religious freedom is important – it’s one of our most fundamental rights. That’s why it is already strongly protected by the United States Constitution – and why it’s not up for debate. In fact, it’s one of the many freedoms that allow each and every American to live their lives to the fullest and advance the common good. Mean-spirited religious refusal laws like HB2 undermine another important value Americans cherish — treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated.
Increasingly this year, Republican leaders are speaking out and taking action against anti-LGBT laws. Last month, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed bills that would allow for legal discrimination against LGBT people. And just last week South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said there was no need for S. 1203, a bill that would punish transgender children for being who they are.
A supermajority of Americans – including an increasing number of Republicans – disagree with such attacks on the LGBT community. Just this year a poll from the Public Religion Research Institutefound that 53% of moderate Republicans and 64% of liberal Republicans oppose allowing businesses and others to cite religion as an excuse for discrimination against LGBT people.
Discrimination, these voters and Republican leaders understand, is not a conservative value – it’s time to stop proposing bills that do nothing to bring people together, and merely attempt to divide.

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