At Wednesday night’s U.S. Senate debate at Brigham Young University, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah (A, 100%) was asked about the extremely difficult and polarizing topic of religious liberties versus LGBT rights.
In the debate, against Democratic challenger Misty Snow (the first transgender nominee for a major party to run for U.S. Senate), Lee’s answer demonstrated why he has a perfect 100% Liberty Score®.
“What is the proper balance between religious liberties and the rights of lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender citizens? Are we near the balance now, and if not, what would you advocate?” Sen. Lee was asked.
The junior Senator of the Beehive State knocked it out of the park (19:28 of video):
Thank you very much for your question. This is an important issue. It is important to understand there are two different types of discrimination we see in our society. One type of discrimination, private, is when two individuals interact. Another type, public, is when government itself discriminates against its own disfavored citizens based on some characteristic disfavored by those in power.
Both are forms of discrimination and can be deadly and ugly … some of the worst things we’ve seen. But between the two, public discrimination is perhaps the most dangerous, for the simple reason that when government is disfavoring people based on their characteristics that government doesn’t like, people don't have any choice. They can't not interact with their government. There is a disparity in their power and ability to resist, because government, particularly the federal government, operates with overpowering force.
It's what governments do. It's why they exist. That's why we got to be very careful whenever government starts to discriminate on the basis of a disfavored religious belief. I am convinced that LGBT writes and religious liberties can thrive in the same environment. The government needs to take a position of nondiscrimination. It is not going to discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs, and it will treat all citizens, regardless of race or sexual orientation, with dignity.
Notice how the focus of Sen. Lee’s answer is on the government, and the abuses that come from an overreaching and overpowered governing force. He emphasizes that the role of government is to protect the rights of all citizens, treating all human beings with the dignity they deserve.
In the follow-up to this question, Sen. Lee describes the purpose of his bill, the First Amendment Defense Act, “which is to prohibit the federal government or any of its agencies or departments from discriminating against any religious institution or individual.” The legislation would protect the tax-exempt status of religious organizations and prevent any undue harm against organizations, by the government, for simply holding a view unpopular with many in seats of power.
“Regardless of what your beliefs about marriage are, or regardless of what your neighbor might believe about marriage,” Lee said, “neither you nor your neighbor should ever be discriminated against a government based on that belief.”
Throughout the debate, his answers — to a whole host of questions — were precise, articulate, conservative responses to the issues of the day.
Another noteworthy exchange occurred when Sen. Lee was asked about the 2013 government shutdown. He explicitly countered the media’s Republicans-shut-down-the-government narrative and correctly laid the blame for the 2013 shutdown at President Obama’s feet.
Let me tell you what happened in 2013. We learned that President Obama had rewritten four keeper visions of Obamacare, without any authority under the Constitution. […]
It was set to kick in fully on Jan. 1, 2014. What we proposed is not fund it, because President Obama said it was not ready. By the way, we now know what he meant. We know that people have seen premium increases, year after year. Just recently, one of Utah’s health insurers announced yet another increase — this one a 40 percent premium increase that will hit ratepayers next year.
What we suggested is that we have at least two votes to fund the government. That's one of the biggest problems with Washington. They push it all on one bill, one day, with only a few hours or days to go. I said, “Let's have at least two votes.” There oughta be more than that, really — but l”et’s have at least two votes. Let's have one vote on whether to fund Obamacare; let it stand on its own. Let’s have another vote on funding for everything else in the government.”
President Obama said ‘No, unless you’re willing to fund everything and anything, including Obamacare” — which he said wasn’t ready to be implemented. […]
President Obama shut down the government. You have been told otherwise by the media, but they are wrong.
That is exactly right.
Senator Mike Lee is expected to coast to an easy reelection in the conservative state of Utah. And the entire nation is fortunate to have him in the Senate, fighting for conservative principles.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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