CNN host Chris Cuomo on Tuesday advised the leader of a so-called “pro-family” group to “own” his anti-gay agenda after he supported an Indiana law that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
“More often than not, what seems to be the momentum for this Indiana law are Christians who are a majority — certainly not a minority in this county — saying that doing business with certain types of people is offensive to their religion,” Cuomo pointed out during an interview with Indiana Family Institute Policy Director Ryan McCann.
“The outcry is coming from organizations like yours that are Christian based with an animus toward the LGBT community,” the CNN host added. “Own who and what you are. There’s nothing wrong with that, you’re allowed to believe it. But you’re not about [fighting against religious discrimination of] Native Americans.”
McCann, however, refused to acknowledge Cuomo’s assertion that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would be used to discriminate against LGBT people. But he also dodged questions about whether his group would support making sexual orientation a protected class.
“Why shouldn’t we go ahead and give our people this greater [religious] protection?” McCann asked. “It has nothing to do with the issues that I think perhaps you, I hope not, and others in the media are making this about. It has to do with protecting religious minorities. And I think as a Christian, as any Christian would want to do, we want to protect — and other faith backgrounds — we want to protect everyone’s First Amendment rights. I don’t care what faith background you are, I don’t care what your sexual orientation is. If you’re a gay business owner, I want to protect you from government just as much as a straight business owner.”
“You understand why that is a little bit of a suspicious premise coming from you, given your past and what you’ve said about the LGBT community and the animus that you have toward them,” Cuomo observed. “And then this bill comes up that expands who is a religious actor, who can act out of religion to any kind of business, which is unusual. And it starts to seem suspicious that you are targeting this group to protect yourself from another trend that’s coming, which is gay marriage and equality.”
“You act like you know me well,” McCann shot back. “This is the first time we met.”
“I only know what you’ve said,” Cuomo replied, reminding McCann that he had written that “self-described” gay and lesbian people should submit to “life changing counseling.”
“You cannot fix gay,” the CNN host explained. “Do you understand that? This is who these people are, it is not just a choice, it is not a lifestyle. These people say, ‘This is who I am, this is whom I love, this I how I think, this is how I feel, this is how I was born.’ Do you understand that?”
Watch the video below from CNN’s New Day, broadcast March 31, 2015.