By MIKE BROWNSTEINAssociated PressAn Indiana governor said Thursday that he’s been called “a racist” and “a bigot” for supporting the state’s controversial bill banning the practice of same-sex marriage, and he vowed to fight the accusation.
John Curtis, who won the Republican primary Tuesday for the Senate, made his comments during an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, as the debate over the legislation continues.
He said the bill was “absolutely the wrong thing to do,” adding that it’s “absolutely not” appropriate for a governor to have his religious beliefs overruled by a legislature.
“I’ve been in this job for 17 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Curtis said.
“This is a big, big deal for my state, for my county, for the state of Indiana.”
Curtis’ comments come as several Republican governors, including Indiana’s, are trying to repeal their own same-day voter registration laws.
A federal judge in Texas blocked those laws last month, saying they violate the Voting Rights Act.
Eric Holcomb and other Republican leaders have pushed back against criticism that they’re trying to discriminate against gay people by forcing voters to show their licenses to cast ballots.
They’ve also faced criticism that their actions are undermining their religious freedom claims in court.
Curtiss said that his position on same-year registration was in line with his state’s constitution, but that he has not received any direct threats.
“The reason I was elected to the legislature is that I believe in God and I believe that the constitution is the only thing that’s real,” he said.
“This is not a battle of the sexes, this is a battle for the soul of our nation.
The people who are most impacted by this are the most vulnerable.
It’s not about discrimination, it’s not a question of religion, it is a question about a fundamental right to have your religious beliefs respected and honored.”
Cecil, the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is seeking a second term in office in the 2016 election, also called Curtis a bigot and a “racist” during the interview.