Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell won’t be weighing in on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “Marriage and Conscience Order.”
Despite a formal request from state Rep. Pat Smith, the Attorney General’s office says it won’t issue an opinion on the order, which seeks to carve out protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage, because of an ongoing lawsuit.
Smith, D-Baton Rouge, had asked Caldwell for an official opinion the “legality, enforceability and constitutionality” of Jindal’s executive order, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage ruling. (Read Smith’s letter to Caldwell here.)
The American Civil Liberties Union and other gay rights advocates filed the lawsuit challenging the executive order shortly after that ruling.
Jindal signed the directive in May — just hours after a state House committee effectively killed legislation that largely carried the same intent of carving out protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage. But without an emergency — a hurricane, for example — executive orders can’t substantially change the law, so it’s unclear how the order could be affected by the recent court ruling that legalized gay marriage in Louisiana.
Jindal is term-limited and his executive order will automatically expire 60 days after the 2016 legislative session, unless the next governor extends it. The next governor also could immediately rescind the order, upon taking office in January. The election is Oct. 24.