HB 707 is entitled the Marriage and Conscience Act and was proposed to protect “religious freedom from government intrusion.” It would prohibit Louisiana from taking “any adverse action against a person…on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about the institution of marriage.” Simply put this legislation would legalize discrimination if it is based on one’s religious beliefs regarding gay marriage.
The bill is now dead for this legislative session, but Governor Jindal has resurrected it by executive order. While society does not tolerate discrimination based on race, Louisiana is now prepared to allow discrimination based on marital status. This is wrong.
While it is up to the individual states to determine who can marry, no state should be allowed to discriminate against anyone who is married legally in another state. (Some courts around the country have ruled that laws prohibiting same sex marriage are unconstitutional thereby legalizing same sex marriage.) Louisiana does not allow marriage between same sex couples, only between one man and one woman, but the U.S. Supreme Court is set to answer the question of who can marry with a ruling expected in a few months.
My point is simply this. Whether we agree with same sex marriage or not, it is just as wrong to discriminate against married same sex couples as it is wrong to discriminate against anyone based on a physical challenge, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Governor Jindal is giving all the signs of being a candidate for President of the United States. He is using his office of governor to position himself in his quest for the White House. His lack of leadership on Louisiana’s failing budget is enough to argue that he should not be president. But his executive order creating discrimination against married same sex couples is wrong. It should not be tolerated, and legislative action negating his executive order is certainly appropriate.