Louisiana Governor and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal announced that parish clerks of court and their employees won’t have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they have “religious objections” to same sex marriage. The order comes in the wake of the historic Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage on Friday.
According to the Times-Picayune, a Jindal spokesman cited as the legal basis for his order the U.S. Constitution, the Louisiana Constitution, Louisiana’s Preservation of Religious Freedom act, and an executive order on religious freedom Jindal issued in May. Louisiana’s Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell, has ordered parish clerks of court, who issue marriage licenses in Louisiana, to wait 25 days after the decision to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
As of Monday, just two of Louisiana’s 64 parishes have complied with the Supreme Court’s decision and issued licenses to same-sex couples. The Jindal administration has said that it will not recognize same-sex marriage until ordered to do so by the federal appeals court.
Many see Jindal’s executive order as a move to promote his 2016 presidential bid among social conservatives upset with the court’s decision.
However, this order could potentially harm the state of Louisiana and subject the state to lawsuits.
What if an employee of the Louisiana State Police has a “religious objection” to issuing concealed carry permits, even if the applicant meets all the qualifications for one? Or a state employee has an objection to granting an alcohol permit based on “religious objections?”
Will the state protect their “rights” too, or is it for same-sex marriage only?
Government employees are required to provide the service their job entails to all who legally qualify for it, regardless of the employee’s personal views. If a government employee cannot follow and apply the law equally, they should quit or be dismissed.
As Rare’s Matt Purple has noted, Jindal has repeatedly sacrificed his state to further his own presidential ambitions. This time not only has Jindal ignored Louisiana’s best interests, but might be his state on the wrong side of history for his own benefit.