A Louisiana House committee has rejected a measure entitled “The Marriage and Conscience Act,” which would have provided broad protection from state sanction to any people, organizations or businesses for actions taken “in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about marriage.”
The bill was opposed by civil rights advocates and the business community for its apparent authorization of discrimination. Unlike RFRA laws, which provide a balancing framework for courts to resolve disputes between religious freedom interests and other state interests, the Marriage and Conscience Act would have essentially provided a trump card to the religious objector from government sanction on matters relating to marriage. A 10-2 committee vote effectively killed the measure yesterday.
Associated Press reports the bill’s sponsor plans to try again:
Rep. Mike Johnson, the lawmaker who sponsored the proposal, said he would push for another hearing this legislative session.
“We don’t throw in the towel. We always stand for freedom,” said the Bossier City Republican. “We’re entering a new era in America where changing ideas about the institution of marriage conflict with the old ideas about religious freedom.”
In response to the committee’s action, Governor Bobby Jindal, who strongly supported the bill, issued an Executive Order attempting to institute the same protections offered by the Act.