GOP Presidential Hopefuls Back Indiana 'Religious Freedom' Law

PHOTO: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, March 26, 2015.PlayMichael Conroy/AP Photo
WATCH Backlash Against Indiana's new 'Religious Freedom' Law

Key Republican presidential hopefuls are backing Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act amid growing concern over possible discrimination against gays and lesbians when the law takes effect.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in an interview on conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt's show today, expressed support for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and the legislation.

"I think Governor Pence has done the right thing," Bush said, according to the New York Times. "I think once the facts are established, people aren't going to see this as discriminatory at all.

"There are many cases where people acting on their conscience have been castigated by the government," Bush said, according to the newspaper. "This is really an important value for our country, in a diverse country,where you can be tolerant of people's lifestyles but allow people of faith to exercise theirs."

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination last week, said in a statement that he favors the new law.

"I want to commend Governor Mike Pence for his support of religious freedom, especially in the face of fierce opposition. There was a time, not too long ago, when defending religious liberty enjoyed strong bipartisan support," Cruz said. "Alas, today we are facing a concerted assault on the First Amendment, on the right of every American to seek out and worship God according to the dictates of his or her conscience. Governor Pence is holding the line to protect religious liberty in the Hoosier State. Indiana is giving voice to millions of courageous conservatives across this country who are deeply concerned about the ongoing attacks upon our personal liberties. I'm proud to stand with Mike, and I urge Americans to do the same."

Earlier today, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum said in a tweet he supports Pence:

But the law signed by Gov. Pence last week drew early reaction from likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

Just as opponents of the law have developed #BoycottIndiana, supporters are using #StandWithIndiana to show approval of the law and advocate for religious freedom.


However, data shows there have not even been 700 tweets with this hashtag,and few public figures are using it to express support.

And rather than discuss boycotts, or the negative publicity the law has brought to the state, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard tweeted that there was more to his city than this law.