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Jindal: Ind., Ark. Leaders 'Cowered' on Religious Freedom Bills

By    |   Thursday, 23 April 2015 06:03 PM

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal thinks the political leaders in Indiana and Arkansas "quickly cowered" when they backpedaled on religious freedom bills in their states.

In a New York Times op-ed, Jindal doesn't mention by name Republican Govs. Mike Pence of Indiana and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, but he implies that the way they handled the outcry over bills they signed into law was wrong.

"In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty," Jindal writes. "It was disappointing to see conservative leaders so hastily retreat on legislation that would simply allow for an individual or business to claim a right to free exercise of religion in a court of law.

"Our country was founded on the principle of religious liberty, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Why shouldn't an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief?

"That is what Indiana and Arkansas sought to do. That political leaders in both states quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all."

Pence was forced to play defense after he signed a religious freedom bill into law when critics said it would lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Hutchinson was faced with a similar situation, and he too asked for his state legislature to send him a revised version of a bill that he signed.

In the Times piece, Jindal said he will "fight for passage" of a Louisiana state law called the "Marriage and Conscience Act."

"The legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract — or taking other 'adverse action' — based on the person or entity's religious views on the institution of marriage," Jindal writes.

"Some corporations have already contacted me and asked me to oppose this law. I am certain that other companies, under pressure from radical liberals, will do the same. They are free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me. As a nation we would not compel a priest, minister or rabbi to violate his conscience and perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. But a great many Americans who are not members of the clergy feel just as called to live their faith through their businesses. That's why we should ensure that musicians, caterers, photographers and others should be immune from government coercion on deeply held religious convictions."

Jindal added, "the bill does not, as opponents assert, create a right to discriminate against, or generally refuse service to, gay men or lesbians. The bill does not change anything as it relates to the law in terms of discrimination suits between private parties. It merely makes our constitutional freedom so well defined that no judge can miss it."

Jindal is considering entering the 2016 race for president. Thus far, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida are campaigning for the Republican nomination. Hillary Clinton is the sole Democrat in the race for now.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal thinks the political leaders in Indiana and Arkansas quickly cowered when they backpedaled on religious freedom bills in their states.
Bobby Jindal, religious freedom, indiana, arkansas
Thursday, 23 April 2015 06:03 PM
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