Jeb Bush Implicitly Endorses Georgia Bill that Would Legalize Discrimination Against Gay People

This week, potential 2016 presidential contender and former Florida governor Jeb Bush stopped in Atlanta to meet with supporters and tout his ideas.


At one point, Bush was asked about SB 129 – Georgia's infamous “religious liberty” bill that would allow businesses and others to discriminate by claiming their religious faith as a defense:

“I don’t know about this law, but religious freedom is a serious issue and is increasingly so,” Bush said. “People that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against, for sure. There should be protections.” A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, he said, would “automatically shift the focus to people of conscience,” who may not want to provide services for a gay marriage. “People have a right to do that, just as we need to be respectful for people who are in long-term committed relationships,” he added.

While Bush hedged and claimed to not know the details of the Georgia bill itself, he was endorsing the principle behind it – that people should be allowed to “act on their conscience” and refuse services using religious faith as a shield.

Bush's remarks were certainly taken as an endorsement by Republican state senator Josh McKoon, who authored the bill. He tweeted out his approval of Bush's statement:

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The ball is now in Jeb Bush's court. Is he really planning on running for president as his words are being used to justify a law that would allow discrimination based on religious faith? If not, he should speak up.

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