Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks to media on March 13, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty

Schwarzenegger ‘furious’ over Indiana’s religious freedom law

Updated

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger penned a blistering op-ed for The Washington Post on Friday, announcing his opposition to the controversial “religious freedom” bills recently passed into law in Indiana and Arkansas.

The legislation, which has since been tweaked to include language outlawing discrimination based on sexual preference, says businesses can refuse to serve customers who offend their “sincerely held” faith-based beliefs.

As an American, I’m incredibly concerned about what happened in Indiana this week and the threat of similar laws being passed in other states. As a Republican, I’m furious,” Schwarzenegger wrote.

RELATED: Schwarzenegger: Climate change is ‘the issue of our time’

The former governor goes on to criticize the GOP for not focusing on the issues that effect the day-to-day lives of ordinary Americans, like airport delays, graduation rates and air pollution. “Distracting, divisive laws like the one Indiana initially passed aren’t just bad for the country, they’re also bad for our party,” he wrote.

Schwarzenegger, who served two terms as California governor after a recall election ousted incumbent Democrat Gray Davis in 2003, says he became a Republican back in 1968 “before I even understood English.” According to the “True Lies” star, while watching coverage of that year’s presidential race between Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey, he had a friend translate and Schwarzenegger took offense to Humphrey’s mention of government programs.

Schwarzenegger repeated a similar story at the 2004 Republican Convention in New York, claiming he heard Nixon and Humphrey’s policies during a televised debate – although historians have pointed out repeatedly that Humphrey and Nixon never participated in televised debates that year.

“If the Republican Party wants the next generation of voters to listen to our ideas and solutions to real problems, we must be an inclusive and open party, not a party of divisions.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger
As a governor, Schwarzenegger largely legislated as a moderate, taking stands that clashed with his party on everything from climate change to the legalization of marijuana. Still, his record on gay rights was shaky at best. The infamous Proposition 8, which made gay marriage illegal in California, was passed on his watch. ”I think gay marriage should be between a man and a woman,” he awkwardly stated when he came into office, although he later claimed to have performed two same-sex weddings while in office. Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional in 2010.

In his op-ed, he warned his fellow Republicans that laws like the ones recently signed into law in Indiana and now Arkansas could spell doom for the party’s future.

“What happened in Indiana should be a teachable moment for us,” he wrote.

If the Republican Party wants the next generation of voters to listen to our ideas and solutions to real problems, we must be an inclusive and open party, not a party of divisions,” Schwarzenegger added. ”We must be the party of limited government, not the party that legislates love. We must be the party that stands for equality and against discrimination in any form.”

This summer, Schwarzenegger will return to his most iconic role in the profitable “Terminator” franchise. The 67-year-old is starring in “Terminator Genisys,” which will hit theaters nationwide on July 1 of this year.

Arkansas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gay Rights and Indiana

Schwarzenegger 'furious' over Indiana's religious freedom law

Updated