Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, writes:
Our laws can promote freedom from discrimination alongside freedom of religion. An extreme approach that believes one side wins only if the other side loses, that would veto any affirmation of existing protections, will produce nothing but discord and resentment. What we need instead is compromise and good faith, on both sides.
Sound a lot like what Jonathan Rauch has been saying.
I’ll note that this was written as the GOP took the presidency and maintained its majorities in the Senate and House, so no, it’s not an argument being made from political weakness.
[Added: I understand the response “Sure, now they want to compromise,” but activists have stated for 20 years that their goal was to pass sexual orientation (and, more recently, gender identity) nondiscrimination protections, and now there’s a GOP president who might actually support and sign a reasonable bill. So staunch opposition to religious exemptions and requiring that the existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (signed by Bill Clinton) be excluded from applying to any such measure—as the Human Rights Campaign and others are demanding—is not a strategy that seeks to accomplish anything except to maintain the political standoff so useful in fundraising appeals.]
A win-win compromise—LGBT legal protections with reasonable and traditional exemptions for religious belief, especially among small, independent service providers—would be in the best interest of everyone except for activists whose power and prestige is based on perpetuating the culture wars.