On Wednesday (4.13), Governor John Bel Edwards made good on a campaign promise and signed an executive order rescinding Bobby Jindal’s previous religious freedom order. In addition, the current Governor issued a second order aimed at protecting all citizens including transgendered Louisianans from discrimination.
According to the governors office, employers can no longer discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age. The order does include an exemption for churches and religious organizations.
“We are fortunate enough to live in a state that is rich with diversity, and we are built on a foundation of unity and fairness for all of our citizens,” said Gov. Edwards in a staement. “We respect our fellow citizens for their beliefs, but we do not discriminate based on our disagreements. I believe in giving every Louisianan the opportunity to be successful and to thrive in our state. Our goal is to promote the opportunities we have right here in Louisiana. While this executive order respects the religious beliefs of our people, it also signals to the rest of the country that discrimination is not a Louisiana value, but rather, that Louisiana is a state that is respective and inclusive of everyone around us.”
Edwards’ policy was applauded by several business organizations in state including GNO, Inc. and the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce as well as CEO of Oscar winning, Louisiana-based Moonbot Studios.
Moonbot CEO Lampton Enochs commented, “Businesses like Moonbot must do everything we can to attract top creative talent to Louisiana. The Marriage and Conscience Order sanctions unfair discrimination and prevents growth in Louisiana’s creative economy.”
On May 19, 2015, Jindal issued a controversial order hours after a bipartisan vote sank a “religious freedom” bill with the same intent. In an accompanying statement the then-Governor said, “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.” That action was rendered void by Edwards’ order today.
The issue has been in the national spotlight as of late as several large corporations have threatened to withdraw business from southern states with discriminatory legislation.