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Candidates in Tight Indy Senate Race Weigh in on Religious Rights, Gay Rights, and Abortion


Three candidates in Indiana's race for the US Senate are weighing in on some questions that are on the minds of many Christian voters in the state.

Indiana's Senate race is one of the major battleground races of the midterm elections coming up in November. Democrats are hoping to hold on to the seat, but Republicans see it as one of their best opportunities to increase their control over the Senate.

Recent polls have shows the Democrat and Republican in a virtual tie. There's also a Libertarian in the race.

The Indianapolis Star posed some big faith questions to the three candidates: Democrat incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly, Republican challenger Mike Braun, and Libertarian challenger Lucy Brenton.

The candidates were asked about the clash between religious rights and gay rights - for example, should a Christian baker be forced to bake a cake with a message that violates his faith? Here was the exact phrasing: "What is the appropriate line between gay rights and religious freedom? Should a baker have to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple despite religious objections?"

Braun said:

"I believe discrimination anywhere is unacceptable, and I also believe all Americans have a constitutional right to express their religious beliefs; this matter has been settled by an overwhelming vote in the United States Supreme Court."

Donnelly said:

"I am hopeful that we can reach a point where all people are respected, where our businesses can thrive, and where people of all backgrounds see Indiana as a welcoming and inclusive state to live, work, worship, raise their families and contribute to our state."

Brenton said:

"Gay rights are human rights. Baker rights are human rights.  The essence of America is that you have individual rights and should be able to do whatever you want, as long as you don't hurt anyone else.  Forcing someone to bake a cake when it violates their own good conscience is wrong. Not baking a cake for someone does not cause them harm. There are other businesses in the market that will gladly take the business. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution. No one has the right to use government force to compel one person to work for another."

The candidates were also asked about two big hot-button issues: abortion and gay marriage: "Would you like for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and its legalization of abortion or Obergefell v. Hodges and the legalization of same-sex marriage?"

Braun said he supports "traditional marriage," Brenton said the government shouldn't even be involved in marriage, and Donnelly said he supports same-sex marriage.

On abortion, Braun said he's "100% pro-life," Brenton said the decision should be up to women,  and Donnelly said he'd like to see the number of abortions reduced.

Braun said:

"I understand these issues can be divisive, and I would never demonize someone with a different point of view from mine. Where I stand comes from my upbringing and my faith: I'm 100% pro-life and I believe in traditional marriage."

Brenton said:

"Why is government in the marriage business? Consenting adults should not be taxed by the government via license fees in order to be married. Neither should government put incentives in the tax code for marriage. Get government out of marriage.
I am personally pro-life, however I recognize that people of good conscience can disagree on important issues such as abortion.  I believe that unless we protect the smallest and most helpless members of society, that we protect no one. It is my fervent desire that no baby ever be aborted and that no one ever finds it necessary to seek one. Regardless, the government should not be involved in what is ultimately a medical decision controlled by the woman in whose body the baby is growing. It is not the place of the Federal government to pay for abortions nor legislate this issue. This issue should be decided at the state level."

Donnelly said:

"My faith has taught me that all life is sacred. I strongly support efforts to reduce the number of abortions, while promoting access to quality, affordable health care from conception until natural death. It's also why I do not believe that federal dollars should be used to fund abortions.

I support marriage equality because we are a stronger state and a stronger country when we support inclusion, respect, and equality for all Americans."

Click here to see the candidates' answers about church involvement in politics. As a non-profit organization, CBN News does not take sides in elections and neither supports nor opposes candidates.


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