Mike Huckabee said on Wednesday that, if he were the sitting president, he would direct the attorney general to prosecute "those who would attempt to extort" or "who committed a crime against a person because they didn't accept homosexual marriage" for hate crimes.
The comment echoes a three-point plan the Republican presidential candidate issued on Tuesday, reported by the Des Moines Register, outlining how he would respond to Supreme Court's decision that same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states.
The released outlined how Huckabee, if elected president, would direct the U.S. attorney general to prosecute as hate crimes groups or individuals who discriminated or attacked individuals, businesses, religious organizations, and others for their religious beliefs about marriage.
Speaking to radio host Steve Deace, Huckabee pushed these points, reiterating promises to issue an executive order proclaiming his goal to "fully protect religious liberty at all levels" and to "instruct the defense secretary to immediately allow chaplains and to let chaplains know that they would be allowed to practice their faith as it is, not as it is desired by people who support same-sex marriage."
His vow to prosecute crimes against opponents of same-sex marriage as hate crimes came sandwiched between these other aspects of his platform.
"The second thing I would do is I would issue a directive to the attorney general and I would, uh, insist that everyone's religious liberty be vigorously defended," he said. "That there be no, uh, allowance for people to have their businesses shut down and that those who would attempt to extort from them or anyone who committed a crime against a person because they didn't accept homosexual marriage could be prosecuted for a hate crime."
In the interview, Huckabee also argued that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion for last Friday's decision, "went to Zen school and had a New Age experience and he used words like 'intimacy' and spirituality' as a sort of ex cathedra constitutional basis to say that same-sex marriage is just fine because some people feel really strong about it."
He further asserted that Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg "clearly should have recused themselves" because they "both had officiated at same-sex marriage ceremonies."
The comments are the latest in the torrent of criticism Huckabee has unleashed at the ruling, beginning with his initial statement that the decision constituted "judicial tyranny," up to his remark on Tuesday that classifying same-sex marriage as a "civil right" is "an insult to African-Americans."
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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