The landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act "properly provides" that no business should be able to discriminate against minorities, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul said Thursday, bringing greater clarity to his position on a controversial issue.
Paul's statement, provided to the Herald-Leader, goes beyond what he told the newspaper in response to a questionnaire two weeks ago.
In that statement, Paul condemned discrimination and said businesses should not engage in such conduct, but he did not answer the question of whether businesses should be allowed to discriminate.
The question has dogged Paul in his race against Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway since the day after he won the Republican primary.
While answering questions that day on National Public Radio and MSNBC, Paul made statements that many people took to mean he thought the 1964 federal law infringed on property rights by barring discrimination at private businesses.
When the Herald-Leader sought clarification Thursday on whether Paul thinks private businesses should be barred from refusing service to minorities, he released this statement through his campaign manager:
"Yes, I believe that the1964 Civil Rights Act properly provides that no business should be able to discriminate. I have said repeatedly that I abhor discrimination, that it was a stain upon our nation, and that the situation required the remedy of legislation to end the problem."
Paul's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, said Paul had said the same thing publicly before, but he did not provide a specific example.
In an earlier, written answer to the newspaper on the same question, Paul said: "Discrimination is wrong, and I do not think private businesses, individuals or the government should discriminate."
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