CNN's Hoover Slams 'Draconian' Religious Freedom Laws

Appearing as a panel member on Monday's CNN Tonight, during a discussion of proposed religious freedom laws in states like Mississippi and the bathroom law in North Carolina, CNN political commentator Margaret Hoover slammed the measures as "draconian laws that dismiss LGBT people."

For his part, host Don Lemon labeled the laws as "crazy" after liberal Republican Hoover recalled polling that suggests most Republicans prefer to back down from opposing same-sex marriage in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling.

After showing a clip of GOP presidential candidate John Kasich criticizing the bill in Mississippi, and expressing a view against enacting laws in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling, the CNN host posed: "Does that gibe with the average Republican voting in the primary?"

Hoover talked up polling favorable to her pro-same-sex marriage point-of-view:

I'm so glad you asked because I've actually done some very specific polling on specifically that answer when the SCOTUS -- when the Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling came down, and 53 percent of Republican primary voters said, "While we don't agree with the Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage, we do believe that it's time for the country to move forward." They don't believe in a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision, they don't believe in continuing to litigate it and make it a wedge issue.

Lemon followed up: "So what's happening in North Carolina and Mississippi with all these crazy laws that people-?"

Hoover jumped back in to respond:

I'm happy to tell you what's happening in those states. I mean, I work on these issues. And what's happening is you have a very conservative legislature who got in, passed a bill in the dark of night without anybody knowing it was going to happen. And then the bill, it turns out, has caused significant loss of funds for the state. ... And also there are very strong Republican leaders who will be coming out in the coming weeks saying this bill has to be repealed and fixed.

As right-leaning CNN political commentator and Donald Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany weighed in with a mixed view of the same-sex marriage issue, arguing that some of the proposed laws might be "viable," Hoover jumped back in to shoot back: "Neither North Carolina or Mississippi are viable. They are both draconian laws dismissing LGBT people."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, April 11, CNN Tonight:

DON LEMON (after a clip of John Kasich criticizing religious freedom bills): Does that gibe with the average Republican voting in the primary?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's what it does -- you know what, I'm so glad you asked because I've actually done some very specific polling on specifically that answer when the SCOTUS -- when the Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling came down, and 53 percent of Republican primary voters said, "While we don't agree with the Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage, we do believe that it's time for the country to move forward." They don't believe in a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision, they don't believe in continuing to litigate it and make it a wedge issue. So even though-

LEMON: So what's happening in North Carolina and Mississippi with all these crazy laws that people-?

HOOVER: I'm happy to tell you-

LEMON: Yeah, what is that?

HOOVER: -what's happening in those states. I mean, I work on these issues. And what's happening is you have a very conservative legislature who got in, passed a bill in the dark of night without anybody knowing it was going to happen. And then the bill, it turns out, has caused significant loss of funds for the state. ... And also there are very strong Republican leaders who will be coming out in the coming weeks saying this bill has to be repealed and fixed.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not fair to lump together all the state bills into one category. They're all different. Some of them are viable. Some of them are not. However, what I will say-

HOOVER: Neither North Carolina or Mississippi are viable. They are both draconian laws dismissing LGBT people.

MCENANY: What I will say -- you've got to let me finish speaking, Margaret. So every state law is different. Some are viable. Some are not. But what is not viable is Senator Cruz's option of the state openly rebelling against the Supreme Court. Who in their right mind as a constitutional scholar who went to Harvard Law School thinks that it is a good idea for the states to rebel against the Supreme Court when they say this is the law of the land?

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