Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby
Jindal on Thursday reiterated his support for a so-called religious
freedom bill in Louisiana.
House Bill 707, titled the Marriage and
Conscience Act, would prohibit the government from taking adverse
action against a person for expressing a religious belief or moral
conviction about marriage.
In a letter to Jindal, IBM said it was
“deeply concerned” about his support for a “bill that legally
protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status.”
Passage will “create a hostile
environment for our current and prospective employees, and is
antithetical to our company's values,” the company said.
In an op-ed published Thursday in The
New York Times, Jindal
warned: “I have a clear message for any corporation that
contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.”
“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.”
“We know that a nation in which
individuals, and companies, are protected from the onerous impulses
of government is one that will thrive and grow,” he added.
Republican governors in Indiana and
Arkansas backed down from supporting similar measures after
businesses threatened to boycott those states. Louisiana's bill,
however, goes further, Doug Laycock, a law professor at the
University of Virginia and a leading religious freedom expert, told
MSNBC last week.
“This Louisiana bill really does what
people accused the Indiana law of doing,” Laycock
said. “The sponsor and the governor says it doesn't authorize
discrimination. I have no idea what that means, it pretty clearly