Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a religious freedom executive order Tuesday – hours after the House voted similar legislation down. What’s behind this move?
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order Tuesday putting part of a “Marriage and Conscience Act” into law after the Louisiana House voted against similar legislation.
By siding with conservative Christians, Governor Jindal, a Republican, appears to be bucking public opinion trends supporting same-sex marriage. And he also may be positioning himself for a 2016 presidential run.
Twenty-one states have passed their own versions of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Controversy erupted in March, after Indiana’s legislature passed a version of an RFRA that critics said would have allowed discrimination against same-sex couples in the state. The legislature ultimately reworked the bill after businesses, as well as states and some cities, said they would boycott Indiana. In April, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson refused to sign an RFRA until state lawmakers reworked it to make it similar to the 1993 federal RFRA signed into law by then-President Clinton and added language to protect against discrimination.
Governor Jindal’s move is the latest in a growing debate between religious freedom activists and same-sex marriage supporters. The Supreme Court is expected to decide the legality of same-sex marriage by the end of its term in June. Currently, same-sex couples can wed in 37 states.
According to Jindal, the Louisiana act will “prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
Critics say Jindal is simply allowing discrimination.
Stephen Perry, a critic of Jindal’s executive order and head of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that the bill “will not stand the tests of time or law.” Mr. Perry has also said that the executive order has little substantive power and is “largely a political statement.”
In fact, the order will remain in effect until 60 days after the current legislative session ends, according to Nola.com, and the next governor can repeal it once taking office in January, if he or she so chooses.
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SOURCE: The Christian Science Monitor