Bobby Jindal Issues Order Granting Court Clerks Right To Refuse Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

| by Alexander Rubinstein

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal published a legal memorandum from his executive counsel that outlined how court clerks and other employees can refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples or otherwise refuse service to same-sex couples in an official capacity.

The only thing a government employee has to do to refuse a same-sex marriage is cite a “deeply held religious belief.”

In the memo, Executive Counsel Thomas Enright Jr. orders "all branches of government in Louisiana" to appropriately accommodate “state employees who express a religious objection to involvement in issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, and judges and justices of the peace may not be forced to officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony when other authorized individuals who have no religious objection are available,” The Times-Picayune reports.

“Numerous attorneys have committed to defend their rights free of charge,” the memo states, seemingly encouraging government officials to discriminate and refuse to perform functions of their jobs, The New Civil Rights Movement reports.

Jindal is accustomed to criticism over his anti-gay stances. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationally, Jindal said in a June 26 press release: “The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.”

He added that the decision will “pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision.”

Jindal vigorously supported a “religious freedom” bill in Louisiana, called the Marriage and Conscience Act, even after national outrage over Indiana’s religious freedom law.

While the bill was pending, Jindal wrote an opinion article for The New York Times. In it, he said, “The legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract — or taking other “adverse action” — based on the person or entity’s religious views on the institution of marriage.”

When the bill failed to pass, Jindal signed two executive orders within hours. The orders, as Jindal stated, were to “accomplish the intent” of the bill by preventing the state from “discriminating against person or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

While Jindal is currently one of 16 Republican presidential candidates, his views put him at odds with the majority of Americans. Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, Gallup found that 60 percent of Americans supported same-sex marriage.

The Huffington Post lists Jindal as ranking 15th out of 16 Republican primary contenders. By some measures, Jindal is the least popular governor in the U.S., reports MSNBC.

One poll found that Jindal’s negative job rating was at 64.7 percent, and that only 4.6 percent thought the governor was doing an ‘excellent’ job, The Advocate’s Politics Blog reports.

Sources: The Times-Picayune, The New Civil Rights Movement, Bobby Jindal, The New York Times, Gallup, The Huffington Post, MSNBC, The Advocate Blog

Photo Credit: Screenshot via YouTube