Post submitted by Adam Talbot, former HRC Deputy Communications Director
On Monday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal used his State of the State address to declare that enacting Indiana-style anti-LGBT legislation was one of his top three priorities as governor.
"I know there has been legislation filed this session that aims to protect religious liberty rights in Louisiana," Jindal said. "Let me be crystal clear – I absolutely intend to fight for the passage of this legislation – and any other that seeks to preserve our most fundamental freedoms."
Of course, as the wave of outrage over a similar bill in Indiana revealed, these bills have nothing to do with personal religious practice and everything to do with allowing discrimination. Dozens of major corporations across the country called on Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence to “fix” the bill he signed into law or risk dire financial consequences to his state, and similar legislation has been condemned by bipartisan coalitions of elected officials in Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and several other states.
“Louisiana families are worried about making enough money to get by, securing a well-paying job, and building a better future for their children,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Governor Jindal seems more interested in driving his state off the same cliff that cost Indiana tens of millions of dollars in lost economic activity and put hundreds millions more at risk before the legislation was significantly changed. Governor Jindal is right, this isn’t an issue of partisanship, it’s an issue of sanity.”
“It’s disappointing that Gov. Bobby Jindal is supporting this bill which permits discrimination in the name of religion,” said SarahJane Brady, executive director of the Forum for Equality. “This bill permits discrimination against interfaith couple and interracial couples, not just the gay and transgender community. The truth is this bill is not about religious freedom — we all have that guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions. The bill just gives a license to discriminate in Louisiana.”
HRC and the Forum for Equality are working in coalition with advocates across the state to halt HB 707 and any other destructive anti-LGBT legislation before it can make further progress. Senate President John Alario has reacted cautiously to the legislation, saying this week that, “it puts Louisiana in a light of hatred and bigotry and discrimination.”