In a break from the ideological line of many of his Republican contemporaries, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he would not have signed anti-LGBT legislation like that which has caused nationwide backlash in North Carolina and Mississippi.
Responding to a question from Face the Nation host John Dickerson Saturday about whether he would have signed North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, which excludes LGBT people from nondiscrimination protections and requires transgender people to use public restrooms that do not match their gender identity, Kasich promptly replied “probably not.”
"I believe that religious institutions ought to be protected and be able to be in a position of where they can live out their deeply held religious purposes," said Kasich, who is often portrayed as the most moderate candidate seeking the GOP presidential nomination. "But when you get beyond that, it gets to be a tricky issue. And tricky is not the right word, but it can become a contentious issue."
"In our state, we're not facing this, so everybody needs to take a deep breath, respect one another, and the minute we start trying to write laws, things become more polarized, things — they become more complicated," he continued. "Obviously I don't want to force people to violate their deeply held religious convictions, but we'd have to see what that's all about. I wouldn't have signed that law from everything I know; I haven't studied it."
At the clip’s end, Kasich appeared frustrated with the proliferation of new laws, whether they be aimed at protecting so-called religious freedom or otherwise settling arguments in the public sphere.
“Why do we have to write a law every time we turn around in this country?” Kasich asked. “Can we figure out just how to get along a little bit better and respect one another? I mean, that’s where I think we ought to be. Everybody, chill out and get over it if you have a disagreement with somebody.”
Kasich is not the only Republican governor to come out against such laws. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recently vetoed an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill, after intense pressure from business and entertainment companies that threatened to leave the state if the bill became law. And South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, also a Republican, vetoed a bill last month that would have required transgender students to use the school facilities that do not match their gender identity, after meeting with trans youth who would have been impacted by the legislation.
Watch Kasich’s interview on CBS’s Face the Nation below.