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Louisiana Tourism Industry At Odds With Bobby Jindal Over Religious Freedom Bill

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d11845e6970c-200wiThe New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) have drawn a line in the sand following Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s decision to sign into law his own version of a religious freedom bill. Much like the same discriminatory measure that Louisiana’s legislature failed to successfully pass, Jindal’s Marriage and Conscience Order empowers establishments to refuse service on religious grounds when rendering services related to marriage.

The executive order will not override LGBT non-discrimination ordinances that have been put into effect in different cities and can technically be repealed 60 days after Louisiana’s next Governor enters the office next January. From the perspective of Louisiana’s tourism industry, however, Jindal’s was a clear plot for a 2016 presidential nomination that comes at significant economic expense to their businesses right now.

Img“We stand for religious freedom, but we do not stand and will not stand for bigotry and intolerance in the marketplace,” explained NOCVB President Stephen Perry (pictured right.)

By Perry’s calculation the Marriage and Conscience Act’s passage could have a chilling effect on the total number of large-scale conventions that take place in the state. He estimated that the industry in New Orleans alone could see anywhere from 80 to 85 percent of its convention customers refusing to come back because of the law.

True to Perry’s warning, calls have already been made for non-essential government travel to Louisiana to be cancelled until the law is repealed.

“The tourism industry is beginning to position itself as thought leaders in American business and in American politics,” Perry said of the industry’s political future. “As we develop more political strength and have a broader base, we have come together to articulate those things which affect us which involve thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of employees. Our voice is being heard.”


Louisiana Sen. Karen Carter Peterson Eviscerates Bobby Jindal's Anti-gay Executive Order in Must Watch Floor Speech: VIDEO

Peterson

Karen Carter Peterson, a Louisiana state senator who represents the New Orleans area, took to the senate floor ahead of Gov. Bobby Jindal's "religious freedom" executive order earlier this week to set the record straight on Jindal's self-serving plan to circumvent the legislature and enact the discriminatory measure himself.

Said Peterson:

Jindal2"Now we've heard him talk about how he feels about executive orders, but those are at the federal level. He don't like those. But today it's okay to just ignore the House and the clear rejection of something that's just not good for our state. He didn't even have the courage to testify before the House, but he wants to roll out a press release saying what he's going to do through executive action. But guess what he did have time to do? To start running commercial, not here in New Orleans, or Baton Rouge, or Monroe - he ran a religious freedom commercial in Iowa. Are you kidding me? Why don't you roll some commercials out on how to fix this nightmare that you've created right here in Louisiana? This is ridiculous. 

Watch Peterson's full, excoriating speech as well as Jindal's "religious freedom" ad airing in Iowa, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously, "New Orleans Mayor Blasts Bobby Jindal's Anti-gay Crusade, Issues Counter Executive Order to Combat Discrimination" [tlrd]

Continue reading "Louisiana Sen. Karen Carter Peterson Eviscerates Bobby Jindal's Anti-gay Executive Order in Must Watch Floor Speech: VIDEO" »


New Orleans Mayor Blasts Bobby Jindal's Anti-gay Crusade, Issues Counter Executive Order to Combat Discrimination

Landrieu

In the wake of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision yesterday to bypass the state legislature and issue a controversial executive order protecting religious-based objection to same-sex marriage, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is hoping to counter the growing anti-LGBT narrative in his state with an executive order of his own. 

The New Orleans Advocate reports:

JindalIn a statement that directly referenced Jindal’s order, Landrieu said New Orleans has managed to protect religious freedom — the stated purpose of Jindal’s order — without opening the door to discrimination.

“In New Orleans, we believe religious liberty and freedoms should be protected and discrimination prohibited, and we have passed our own laws to reflect that principle,” Landrieu said. “This executive order is an important, symbolic affirmation that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in New Orleans — and it should not be tolerated anywhere in Louisiana.”

New Orleans, a heavily Democratic city that has a substantial gay community, has a history of sailing against the prevailing winds of social conservatism that dominate politics in the rest of the state. The city also has more to lose from the Jindal order than most of Louisiana because so much of the economy is based on conventions, tourism and special events. Jindal’s order, and the now-dead legislation that inspired it, spawned fears that Louisiana could be shunned and possibly boycotted outright by conventioneers and other visitors.

The city has had non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals on the books for two decades. 

Read Landrieu's full executive order, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "New Orleans Mayor Blasts Bobby Jindal's Anti-gay Crusade, Issues Counter Executive Order to Combat Discrimination" »


Bobby Jindal Bypasses Louisiana Legislature, Issues Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill As Executive Order

P_twis_jindal_140918_fa27a220ee91d325db1f357f11fa72feMaking good on his promise declared just hours ago, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an executive order intended to protect the "religious liberty" of objectors to same-sex marriage in the state of Louisiana. The anti-gay order takes the place of House Bill 707 which was rejected today by a Louisiana House panel in a 10-2 vote. 

Jindal's decision to go through with the executive order, bypassing the legislature, comes just one day after Jindal announced that he formed an exploratory committee to seek the GOP's nomination for President. 

BuzzFeed reports:

Jindal outlined the order in a statement: “This Executive Order will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.” [...]

The legislation was a priority for Jindal, he said at the beginning of the year’s legislative session. He said he would “fight” to pass it amid an uproar over religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas that critics said would allow LGBT discrimination. He authored an op-ed published in the New York Times in defense of his support, declaring, “As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.”

Jindal defended the bill at home as well, “All this bill does is provide necessary protections for individuals to prevent adverse treatment from the state based on religious beliefs regarding marriage. This legislation does not allow a restaurant or industry to refuse service to a gay or lesbian person.”

Equality Louisiana, an LGBT rights group, and Louisiana Progress Action, denounced the order and suggested that Jindal's actions are squarely to do with his intended presidential bid. Via The Times-Picayune:

"It is shameful that Gov. Jindal has decided that abusing his executive power to accomplish the goals of House Bill 707, even after it was tabled indefinitely by our legislature today, is worth more effort than fixing our disastrous state budget. In his time in Iowa, he may have forgotten what everyday Louisianians value, but the testimony today against HB 707 should have reminded him. Discrimination is not a Louisiana value.

"Gov. Jindal is clearly trying to leave the biggest mess possible, as he readies himself to spend even less time in Louisiana and to launch his presidential campaign. In the end, his extreme ideology is only making the state a worse place for those of us who actually plan to live here past his last day in office."    

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had a similar assessment: 

“This executive order falls into category of unnecessary, gratuitous and discriminatory,” Sainz told BuzzFeed News. “On the same day that Louisiana legislators had the good sense to turn back discrimination, Governor Jindal, who’s facing one of the lowest approval ratings in state history, decided to promote his presidential fortunes by championing ignorance. He’s on the wrong side of this issue and will no doubt be on the wrong side of history.”


Bobby Jindal Defiant After Louisiana House Panel Kills Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill

A Louisiana House Committee today voted down HB 707, an anti-gay 'religious freedom bill' favored by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. In the wake of its defeat, Jindal remained defiant, vowing to enact key provisions of the bill through executive order. 

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d107e1a4970c-200wiMore on the bill from WAFB:

HB 707, known as the "Marriage and Conscience Act," is before the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee. The legislation would prohibit the state from denying any resident, nonprofit or business a license, benefits or tax deductions because of actions taken "in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction" about marriage. Those in favor of the legislation say it protects religious freedoms, while those against insist it allows open season on discrimination.

A broad coalition was assembled today at a "packed House Committee room" where the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure heard arguments from both advocates for and objectors to the proposed law. Leaders from the business, faith and LGBT communities spoke against the bill.

"We’re beginning to convince the world that Louisiana is one of the best places in the world to do business," said Michael Heck, the president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, a regional business development alliance. "These gains are real but fragile. Companies think [HB 707] will make it harder to recruit workers to Louisiana." Governor Jindal has previously been unswayed by leaders in the business community who have urged him to jettison the anti-gay bill if for no other reason than it's bad for business. 

Though HB 707 was defeated in committee by a vote of 10-2, Jindal told The Advocate that his office will issue an executive order pushing through the 'meat' of the bill, a move meant to, temporarily at least, make impotent the legislature which did not see eye to eye with Jindal's anti-gay agenda. Said Jindal in a press release:

“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar.  We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will accomplish the intent of HB 707 to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman. 

“This Executive Order will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.”


Louisiana House Unanimously Adopts Resolution Urging Ginsburg and Kagan to Recuse from SCOTUS Marriage Case

The Louisiana House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution urging Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to recuse themselves from the marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

ScotusThe unanimous vote appears to have come about because of inattention on the part of some Democratic members, the Times-Picayune reports:

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan "have each engaged in public conduct suggestive of bias," reads Louisiana House Concurrent Resolution 85, sponsored by state Rep. Valerie Hodges, R-Denham Springs. In engaging on the issue of same-sex marriage, the justices have "thus demonstrate(d) an inability to be objective," and should therefore withdraw from the Obergefell v. Hodges case, the resolution says.

...But according to a least one lawmaker, adoption of the resolution without a single "no" vote from House members on the floor was sort of an accident.

"I know I didn't pay attention," said state Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Plaquemine. "Usually somebody does."

Oops.

St. Germain, who has been a sponsor of LGBT workplace non-discrimination legislation, said lawmakers may have been tired or focused on severe weather troubling the state as well.

Hopefully the lawmakers will be paying attention when the "religious liberty" bill crosses their desks.

The non-binding resolution now goes to the state senate.


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