NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Governor Bobby Jindal weighs in on the religious freedom debate as a Louisiana legislator introduces a bill that would refuse to recognize same sex marriages.
It's a topic that's creating controversy in Indiana, Arkansas and other parts of the country. Now, Bossier City Rep. Mike Johnson proposes a religious freedom bill here.
UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak explains, "The goal of this particular legislation is to allow companies to make decisions based on their perspective of marriage,"
Governor Jindal appeared on Meet the Press Sunday morning to address the issue. Jindal comments, "This is about business owners who don't want to have to choose between their Christian faith, their sincerely held religious beliefs and being able to operate their businesses."
Jindal said he hasn't read Johnson's bill but supports defending religious liberty.
If the Supreme Court votes to legalize same sex marriage this year, Johnson's proposed legislation would allow a private company to deny the same benefits to same-sex married couples as other married couples, on the basis of a religious objection.
"These laws are being enacted strictly for the purpose of discriminating against the LGBT community," said Ryan Delaney, an attorney and gay rights advocate.
Delaney believes the legislation would not only hurt same sex couples, but also the state of Louisiana. He explains, "The fear is, if we open the doors for private companies to discriminate based on religious liberty, that could preclude companies from wanting to come to our state."
Chervenak points to what's unfolding in other parts of the country, where protests are already underway. "We rely so heavily on tourism and any threat of a boycott would be extremely damaging to our economy," Chervenak said.
Although Johnson's bill has been filed, Chervenak doesn't foresee a final decision being made during the upcoming legislative session, as the focus of this session is to be fiscal issues in the state.
The legislative session kicks off in Baton Rouge, April 13th.