Republican presidential candidate John Kasich was asked about North Carolina and Mississippi‘s new anti-LGBTQ laws on Face The Nation Sunday, and his answer may surprise you – especially if you know the “moderate” candidate’s previous history with trans nondiscrimination protections.
Asked whether or not he would sign a similar law as the governor of Ohio, Kasich said he “probably” wouldn’t, saying there hasn’t been any problem with “religious freedom” in the state. He went on to talk about the need to balance civil rights protections with the beliefs of one specific religion.
In a field dominated by far right Republicans, Kasich has been promoted as the more palatable moderate choice for establishment Republicans. In reality, his record on LGBTQ issues is just as abysmal as the rest when you step outside of the campaign talking points.
In one of his first acts as Governor, Kasich allowed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to expire. He later renewed the protections for gays, lesbians and bisexuals, but refused to renew the protections for transgender people. Ohio doesn’t have a statewide law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people.
Kasich also vehemently opposed marriage equality, fighting against Jim Obergefell and his late husband’s case against the state. The case eventually made it’s way to the Supreme Court, paving the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.
Asked about so-called religious liberty legislation at a Republican debate earlier this year, Kasich waffled in an attempt to ride the fence rail on LGBTQ issues.
“Religious institutions should be able to practice the religion that they believe in. No question and no doubt about it. Now, in regard to same-sex marriage, I don’t favor it. I’ve always favored traditional marriage, but, look, the court has ruled and I’ve moved on,” he said. “Look, where does it end? If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced. I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior. But when it comes to the religious institutions, they are in inviolate in my mind, and I would fight for those religious institutions.”