Bobby Jindal has threatened for weeks to act if Louisiana’s legislature didn’t move to protect businesses threatened with state sanctions for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings. When Democrats used a procedural move to sideline a bill addressing the issue, Jindal didn’t waste much time. Just hours afterward, he announced that he would sign an executive order forbidding any state enforcement of penalties in those situations:
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement Tuesday (May 19) saying he plans to issue an executive order to enforce the intent of a religious freedom bill that effectively died about two hours earlier, in the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee.
Read the full statement below:
“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar. We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will accomplish the intent of HB 707 to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.
“This Executive Order 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.”
As The Hill’s Ben Kamisar notes, most of the rest of the governors involved in this issue ran the other direction. In large part, that momentum resulted from media coverage such as this from WGNO:
There’s not much doubt what WGNO wanted its viewers to think, but neither the bill nor the EO sanctions bigotry. Both are meant to prevent people from using the power of the state to demand forced participation in events that violate the religious principles of business owners. Neither would prevent the state from pursuing legitimate cases of discrimination. It’s a specification for the application of the RFRA laws that states and the federal government passed to wide bipartisan consensus over the last two decades, up until it ran up against the desire of the Left to enforce participation and celebration rather than provide for tolerance.
Jindal isn’t sitting passively on the PR effort, either. The American Future Project, the PAC supporting Jindal’s presumed presidential run, launched a new 30-second spot in defense of his action. The takeaway line comes last — “The United States of America didn’t create religious liberty — religious liberty created the United States of America.”
Don’t expect to see too many other governors go this far in dealing with this issue. Most of them would rather not get involved in the fight, especially after the way Mike Pence got ripped in the national media earlier this year. Whether it’s wise or not, Jindal doesn’t seem to mind fighting for this particular political hill.