Fiorina’s Very Bad Interview on Kentucky Marriage Clerk

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Talk is cheap.  When the courts redefine life and marriage and the Left pushes to redefine gay marriage dissenters as haters and bigots and quasi-racists, who will stand up to the powers that be? Not Donald Trump, at least, not so far.  But neither has Carly Fiorina made it clear what she would do, if we trust her to be our President, to protect liberty.

This latest conversation with Hugh Hewitt has many social conservatives perturbed:

HUGH HEWITT: And let me close our conversation by throwing a hard one at you. There’s a Kentucky county clerk today. She’s refusing to issue licenses to same-sex marriage couples. She’s in comtempt of court in essence. What would your advice be to her?

CARLY FIORINA: First, I think that we must protect religious liberties with great passion and be willing to expend a lot of political capital to do so now because it’s clear religious liberty is under assault in many, many ways. Having said that, when you are a government employee, I think you take on a different role. When you are a government employee as opposed to say, an employee of another kind of organization, then in essence, you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government. And, while I disagree with this court’s decision, their actions are clear. And so I think in this particular case, this woman now needs to make a decision that’s [about] conscience: Is she prepared to continue to work for the government, be paid for by the government in which case she needs to execute the government’s will, or does she feel so strongly about this that she wants to sever her employment with the government and go seek employment elsewhere where her religious liberties would be paramount over her duties as government employee.

HEWITT: You don’t counsel that she continue civil disobedience?

FIORINA: Given the role that she’s playing. Given the fact that the government is paying her salary, I think that is not appropriate. Now that’s my personal opinion. Others may disagree with that, but I think it’s a very different situation for her than someone in a hospital who’s asked to perform an abortion or someone at a florist who’s asked to serve a gay wedding. I think when you’re a government employee, you are put into a different position honestly.

It is one thing to say that government clerks have to obey the law. The question I want to know is: Will the law make room for gay marriage dissenters or not?  Fiorina has shown great courage in standing up on life, but on religious liberty, so far, she has not told us what she would do or whose side she would be on.

If she cannot support the Kentucky marriage clerks, can she support at least the First Amendment Defense Act, which would give conscience protections to government employees (without permitting them to obstruct access to lawful benefits)?  Will she make sure the IRS does not strip Christian schools of their tax exempt status? What will she do?

Now that she is emerging as a real contender in both Iowa and New Hampshire, she needs to let us know—at a minimum, will she join Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum in endorsing the First Amendment Defense Act?

Because if she doesn’t have as much courage on this issue as Lindsey Graham, well, voters will want to know that.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.