The Corner

Senate Republicans Mum on Arizona Religious-Freedom Bill

With the exception of Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), Senate Republicans who spoke with NRO today were hesitant to comment on Arizona’s controversial bill that critics say legalizes discrimination against gay people. Jeff Flake and John McCain, the state’s U.S. senators, have both called on Governor Jan Brewer to veto the legislation. And today, Ayotte told NRO that she supports their call.

“I hope the governor takes the recommendations of Arizona’s two Senators,” she told NRO before heading into the Republicans’ weekly lunch.

Others were hesitant to take a side.

Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, said, “I’ll leave that to the Arizona folks.”

And Senator Graham was similarly restrained.

“I think at the end of the day, people from Arizona don’t need a guy from South Carolina telling them what to do,” he told NRO and a few other reporters. “Where do you draw the line? Like, a church, they’re not required to admit people, who, their values are different. The photographer case, can you make somebody to take a photo? Serving somebody a meal, providing lodging is different. I really don’t know the answer, but let the people of Arizona figure it out.”

Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, a Republican who supports gay marriage, told NRO America needs less discrimination. He didn’t go so far as supporting Flake and McCain’s calls for a veto, though.

“I am concerned that Americans don’t know the true opportunity cost of discrimination,” he said.

Others, including Senators Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), and Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) said they weren’t familiar enough with the legislation to comment.


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