Bobby Jindal Orders "Religious Freedoms" In Louisiana When The State House Flat-Out Refuses To Discriminate & It's A Transparent 2016 Ploy
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has an opinion — but it isn't popular this time around. On Tuesday, the Louisiana State House voted down a religious objections bill that was high on Jindal's priority list. The House Civil Law and Procedure committee voted 10-2 to set aside the bill, which killed the measure for the session. When the bill failed, Jindal persisted by issuing Executive Order BJ 15-8, the Marriage and Conscience Order, which will forbid any state agencies from denying individuals, non-profits or businesses jobs, taxations, state grants or benefits because of their religious conscience or beliefs. In other words the governor is putting the stop on discrimination against discrimination.
But, in issuing this order, Jindal has not gone without facing some discrimination himself. When he pushed past Louisiana legislature to pass the executive order, Jindal might have also pushed back his bounds as state governor. According to the Huffington Post, Louisiana state governors have wide-ranging powers when it comes to natural disasters like a hurricane or other emergencies. And in the opinion of Terry Ryder, attorney to two past Louisiana state governors, ensuring the rights of religious discrimination does not qualify as a state emergency.
Jindal, however, might have personal motivations for acting swiftly on these issues: his apparent hopes to appeal to conservative Republicans in order to win the 2016 GOP nomination. This year, Arkansas and Indiana have passed similar bills, which have met much controversy as the election season heats up.
But Jindal's attempts to garner fame by putting Louisiana on the discrimination map might not get him far. While many feared that Louisiana would face similar scrutiny as did religious discrimination protectors to the north, Jindal's efforts might not have as much influence as he would like. J. Stephen Perry, President of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors bureau told The New York Times that Jindal's executive order will have far less influence than if it were a law.
Gov. Jindal has had his fair share of run-ins with the liberal left. Earlier this year, Jindal criticized President Obama for executive orders, which deferred deportation for immigrants without documentation, according to Slate. But now, he's got some backlash in his own state.
Perry called the original measure a "campaign document," according to The New York Times. And as for Jindal's actions? Not many people are stunned. Democractic Rep. Neil Abramson is cited in the same story saying he is "'not surprised'" at the governor's actions.
Outside states have reacted poorly to Jindal's decision. Two New York lawmakers have asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to issue a travel ban to Louisiana, according to The Times Picayune. In March, Cuomo issued a non-essential travel ban to Indiana after the state passed its religious discrimination bill. Cuomo lifted the ban in April.
An New York Times letter to the editor concluded that Jindal, who often cites freedom as basis for people to exercise their religious convictions, is denying freedom to "tens of millions of Americans" in allowing discrimination to stay alive and well.
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