New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) on Thursday issued an executive order of his own aimed at counteracting any fallout from a statewide executive order issued on Tuesday by Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) that purports to protect “religious freedom” by allowing individuals or businesses to potentially discriminate against LGBT people or same-sex couples.
Landrieu said he was issuing his own executive order in the hope that he could make clear to the rest of the nation that New Orleans “is an accepting, inviting city that thrives on its diversity and welcomes people from all walks of life with open arms.” Landrieu also said that the city has been able to balance tolerance for all people, including the LGBT community, with religious freedom.
“In New Orleans, we believe religious liberty and freedoms should be protected and discrimination prohibited, and we have passed our own laws to reflect that principle,” said Landrieu. “This executive order is an important, symbolic affirmation that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in New Orleans — and it should not be tolerated anywhere in Louisiana.”
Landrieu also made clear that his actions also have an economic thrust behind them, as the mayor hopes to curb any backlash against Jindal’s order, such as states choosing to ban official non-essential travel to Louisiana or having various conventions or special events, such as the Super Bowl, boycott the city. There is precedent for this: after Indiana passed its “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (that critics said condoned anti-LGBT discrimination in the state) earlier this year, several states and major cities issued travel bans to Indiana. Several businesses and sports organizations also considered pulling back from doing business with the state, with some even suggesting that major conventions or events should institute a boycott. Any such travel ban or boycott by major conventions or events would be catastrophic to New Orleans, whose economy relies heavily on tourism.
Jindal issued his order, which carves out protections from state-sponsored action, such as the denial of accreditation, certification, or various tax credits, for people or businesses who oppose either homosexuality or same-sex marriage, after the Louisiana State Legislature failed to allow a similar measure to move forward.
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