Louisiana Gov. Jindal Enacts Religious Rights Law Via Executive Order

| by Sean Kelly
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On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana issued an executive order on a religious freedom bill that previously died after legislators in a House committee voted it down.

The Marriage and Conscience Act, which bears a strong resemblance to Religious Freedom Restoration legislation in Arkansas and Indiana, prohibits “the state from taking any adverse action against a person on the basis that such person acted in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about marriage.” After failing in the Louisiana’s House on Tuesday, Jindal announced his intention to issue an executive order that would allow the bill to move through and become law.

“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar,” Jindal said in a statement on Tuesday, The Times-Picayune reported. “We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will … prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Jindal’s executive order follows the governor’s recent criticism towards President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

“Granting amnesty by executive order is wrong,” Jindal wrote in a statement last year. “It will incentivize more of this illegal immigration. If the President wants to make the case that the law should be changed, he should go make the case to Congress and our people. This is an arrogant, cynical political move by the President, and it’s why so many Americans no longer trust this President to solve the problems we face.”

The bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Mike Johnson, praised Jindal’s order – which the governor referred to as the “next best thing” to marriage legislation – along with several other supporters.

“We don’t throw in the towel,” Johnson said. “We always stand for freedom. … We’re entering a new era in America where changing ideas about the institution of marriage conflict with the old ideas about religious freedom.”

The order was issued and went into effect on Tuesday, though the next governor can repeal it in January.

Sources: Times-Picayune, Washington Post

Photo Credit: washingtonpost.com, Gage Skidmore/Flickr