Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) issued a clear message in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday: unlike the Republican governors in Indiana and Arkansas, Jindal doesn’t plan on bowing to the pressure of “left-wing activists” and large corporations who oppose a controversial religious liberty bill.
The legislation, introduced by state Rep. Mike Johnson (R), blocks the government from being able to take away business licenses or tax benefits or even impose fines on businesses because of an owner’s views on gay marriage.
Johnson has been forced to defend the legislation amid mounting criticism. Recently IBM sent a letter to Jindal, who has already thrown his support behind the legislation, warning that Johnson’s bill, if signed into law, could create a hostile work environment for some employees. That argument was made by heads of Apple and Angie’s List and others about similarly controversial religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas. In both Arkansas and Indiana, the Govs. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Mike Pence (R), respectively, bowed to pressure and national attention over the bills.
Jindal vowed to not follow their example.
“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 continued. “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.”
Jindal went on to say that Hutchison and Pence “quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all.” Jindal went on to say that the business community needs to side with him and other supporters of similar legislation rather than stay on the side of liberal activists.
“If we, as conservatives, are to succeed in advancing the cause of freedom and free enterprise, the business community must stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for religious liberty,” Jindal said. “The left-wing ideologues who oppose religious freedom are the same ones who seek to tax and regulate businesses out of existence. The same people who think that profit making is vulgar believe that religiosity is folly. The fight against this misguided, government-dictating ideology is one fight, not two. Conservative leaders cannot sit idly by and allow large corporations to rip our coalition in half.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll published on Thursday found that 61 percent of Americans support gay marriage, a record high for the poll.