Jeb Bush has been on a major losing streak here lately. First there was his flip-flop on a question about the war in Iraq, followed by his bizarre comment that his Apple Watch could be used to replace Obamacare, and now we have the former Governor of Florida saying he’s perfectly cool with businesses that discriminate against LGBT Americans.
Bush, speaking to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network on Saturday, was asked a direct question on the issue of same-sex marriage and the recent proliferation in some state of “Religious Freedom Laws.” Brody asked:
“This is more about the vendor issue as it relates to do they want to provide a service for same-sex weddings. Are you okay if they don’t provide those types of services?”
Bush, careening to the far right so quickly that he must have been dizzy, remarked:
“Yes, absolutely if it’s based on a religious belief.”
Jeb then brought up the specific case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex marriage ceremony. It was, Bush declared, terrible that Stutzman “might lose her business” for refusing to serve LGBT customers. And he then added:
“A big country, a tolerant country ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs. We should be able to figure this out. This should not be that complicated gosh it is right now.”
It’s not complicated at all, Governor Bush. Allow me to explain it to you: All Americans should have a right to the same benefits and services, plain and simple. If a business serves the public, then that business has no right to claim a religious exemption for serving those the owner may dislike. Or would you rather go back to the days when African-Americans had to use separate bathrooms, could not eat at lunch counters, and had to ride in the back of the bus?
Memo to Jeb Bush and the rest of the GOP: LGBT rights are the civil rights issue of the 21st century, and the more you fight against equality for all Americans, the more you marginalize your already shrinking political party.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.