Despite state legislators tabling a ‘religious freedom’ bill similar to Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act enacted earlier this year, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order with similar provisions yesterday, CBS News reported.
Members of a state House legal committee voted 10-2 to kill the legislation, known as the Marriage and Conscience Act, which would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers based upon religious beliefs.
Luckily, according to Stephen Perry, former chief of staff to another of Louisiana’s governors, the order is just a “largely political statement” that “will have very little practical impact.” Right now, the executive order only affects the executive branch, and does not offer the same protections the MCA would have.
Perry, who is currently head of tourism for New Orleans, said the bill would be “radioactive” and it would make Louisiana “complicit in officially state-sanctioned bigotry.”
“We’re attempting to … carve out the ability to discriminate, the ability to be bigoted,” Perry said.
Given the millions of dollars that tourism to the Big Easy brings in for the state, legalizing discrimination against a segment of the population could certainly prove problematic.
Jindal, however, called his executive order the “next best thing” to actually signing the MCA, and said that “what we are seeing today in America is an all-out assault on religious liberty.”
“We don’t throw in the towel,” said the MCA’s sponsor Rep. Mike Johnson (R) of the committee’s decision. “We’re entering a new era in America where changing ideas about the institution of marriage conflict with the old ideas of religious freedom.”
Johnson’s quote sums up the GOP perfectly. They are terrified that the rest of the country is evolving and are trying to enact laws to protect their “old” ways of thinking.
Jindal is considering a run for the White House next year and thinks that the support of the religious far-Right will be enough to win him an election. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for the rest of the country, it isn’t.