Rand Paul is in the center of a growing frenzy over his comments about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He’s now released a statement clarifying his position.

As Joe Gerth says,

Paul had said he opposed the portion of the law that prohibits businesses from discriminating on the grounds of race, saying that in a free society people and businesses should be allowed to do things that many in society oppose.

And on that, issue, Paul has not changed his position.

That’s in line with his previous statements, and Paul’s stance is drawing heavy criticism. One critic is 3rd District Congressman John Yarmuth, who released a statement that began with the following sentence:

The comments by Senate candidate Rand Paul opposing the Civil Rights Act are simply appalling, and make it abundantly clear that he has no place holding public office in Kentucky in the 21st century.

Paul’s rival, Jack Conway has released a statement about the whole situation, but a few folks–especially on Twitter–seem to think Conway isn’t hitting Paul hard enough.

Republicans are preparing to fight the negative attention. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who supported Paul in the primary, says he will talk to the candidate, and Paul’s primary rival Trey Grayson will attend Saturday’s GOP unity rally with Paul and Senator Mitch McConnell.