May 22, 2015 Government, In The News, News

Mitch Landrieu issues anti-discrimination order to head off Jindal backlash

The Times-Picayune

By: Robert McClendon

Following on the heels of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s religious freedom executive order, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday (May 21) issued an order of his own, saying discrimination would not be tolerated in the city.

Landrieu called the city order “an important, symbolic affirmation that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in New Orleans – and it should not be tolerated anywhere in Louisiana.”

The Marriage and Conscience Act, referred to as the religious freedom bill, went down in flames Tuesday in the Legislature amid vociferous criticism from advocates who said it would clear the way for discrimination against LGBT people and lead to a backlash that would hurt business in the state.

Jindal responded by signing an executive order cribbing much of the bill’s language.

The governor’s order forbids state officials such as the Revenue Department from punishing individuals, churches and businesses for “acting in accordance with his religious belief.” The order does not limit the actions that could be defended under a claim of religious freedom.

Landrieu’s executive order says that all city departments and boards are “authorized and directed to take cognizance of and comply with … the anti-discrimination laws of New Orleans.”

City law already bars discrimination on many bases, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Landrieu administration said in a statement that his executive order is designed to address backlash to the governor’s order, which “could adversely affect the state’s and city’s ability to attract jobs, large conventions and major special events, such as the Super Bowl.”

The tourism economy forms much of the employment and tax base of New Orleans.