New Louisiana Governor to Rescind Predecessor’s Religious Liberty Executive Order

Edwards-compressedBATON ROUGE, La. — The new governor of Louisiana plans to rescind an executive order issued by former Gov. Bobby Jindal that provided religious liberty protections to objectors of same-sex “marriage.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat and Roman Catholic, plans to make the move in the “near future,” according to his press secretary, and write his own order in its place.

“Governor Edwards will issue the executive order, but it is in the drafting stage,” Shauna Sanford, told Deadline. “As far as Jindal’s religious liberty order, the governor intends to rescind it in the near future.”

Jindal, also a Roman Catholic, had issued the order last May after legislators failed to pass a religious freedom bill, the “Marriage and Conscience Act,” which was struck down in a House committee 10-2.

“[I]t is of preeminent importance that government take no adverse action against a person, wholly or partially, on the basis that such person acts in accordance with his religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, but that this principle not be construed to authorize any act of discrimination,” it read in part.

“All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and political subdivisions of the state are authorized and directed to comply with the restrictions placed upon government action in the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act and, including more specifically, on the basis that such person acts in accordance with his religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman,” the order continued.

Jindal also explained in a statement that the executive order would “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.”

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Sanford told reporters this week that Edwards doesn’t believe residents should be forced to violate their convictions, but also believes that non-discrimination clauses are needed.

“In terms of what he will instruct the Attorney General’s office to do is follow the law. The governor does not want anyone to be forced to do anything they don’t want to do, within the confines of the law,” she said.

“He is going to rescind that order, as he mentioned months ago, and he is going to issue an executive order that state contractors have a non-discrimination clause because he does not believe that it is right for anyone to be discriminated against because of their race, their gender, their sexual orientation,” Sanford explained.

As previously reported, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a religious liberty bill on Wednesday that would have provided protections to pastors and non-profit, faith-based organizations who object to same-sex nuptials.

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