Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has fancied himself a 2016 presidential contender, is now heavily promoting Louisiana House Bill 707 in an effort to be seen as a defender of Christian values. Jindal backs this bill under the guise of “religious freedom” instead of what it really is: the legalization of discrimination.
The bill proposes that business owners cite “religious freedom” as a legal reason to discriminate against gay couples. Goods and services could legally be denied to individuals solely due to the individual’s sexual orientation, which sounds eerily reminiscent of times prior to the nation’s civil rights movement.
The bill, if passed into law, would create an ever-widening gap regarding rights between those who are deemed morally righteous and the second-class citizenry of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
State Rep. Mike Johnson, author of the bill, claims that this is not the intent of the bill but rather to ensure that business owners cannot be bullied or coerced into serving certain customers who do not share similar religious beliefs, namely homosexuals. Many religious leaders believe that the bill promotes views that are in opposition to those views their faiths proclaim.
The consequences of this bill are more than just the blatant violation of human and civil rights. The economic well-being of the state is at stake as well, considering major corporations such as IBM have weighed in, stating that passing of such a discriminating bill goes against the company’s values.
The proposed law has the potential to drive away companies by allowing archaic intolerance to legally be practiced. The companies that Jindal boasts so often about bringing into the state, which have helped Louisiana’s economic growth, may now move away from the state due to this bill.
In Jindal’s op-ed article for The New York Times, he said Hollywood and the media elite are hostile to Christian values and they tip the scales to liberal opponents at every opportunity, which has further polarized a relationship with the movie industry here in Louisiana. Jindal and his support for intolerant views and values are driving business away as he is the one creating the hostility.
With the passing of HB707, these companies will take their business to other, more tolerant states, which will hurt Louisiana’s financial future. Perhaps, instead of focusing on a bill that would be a detriment to human rights, Jindal should focus on the more critical issue of success in his own state’s economic development.
- ursing student