Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) became the first Republican lawmaker to outright condemn neighboring Indiana’s controversial religious-freedom law. In a brief statement on Wednesday, the senator explained why he opposed the “discriminatory law.”
“I strongly oppose what Governor Pence did,” Kirk said. “We should not enshrine bigotry under the cover of religion. It’s not just bad practice — it’s un-American.”
He concluded his statement with a list of past legislation and issues in which he has supported LGBT rights, including being the second Republican senator to publicly voice support for same-sex marriage as well as serving as a lead sponsor on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.
#related#Kirk is considered one of the more moderate members of the Senate Republican caucus. He is also up for reelection next year in what is expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races of 2016 and a potential pick-up opportunity for Democrats.
While Democrats have opposed the law in almost total uniformity, Republicans have largely either indicated support for the Indiana law, or distanced themselves from it. Kirk’s harsh objection serves as the first unequivocal denunciation by a prominent Republican politician since Governor Pence signed the bill in to law last week.