Unlike those pussy states Indiana, Arkansas, and Georgia, Louisiana will not be out-rednecked when it comes to discriminating against LGBT residents who want to get married. Sorry – when it comes to the religious freedom for Louisiana’s people to pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to enforce.
See, the previous states all called their bills a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which makes it sound like everyone just wants to live and let live when it comes to however you want to pretend there’s an invisible sky wizard fucking around in humans’ lives. But Louisiana’s religious conservatives in the legislature tossed that shit and said it plain. HB 707 is the motherfuckin’ “Marriage and Conscience Act,” so no one can be confused about what’s what.
It’s about as straightforward and not open to interpretation as can be: “Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, this state shall not take any adverse action against a person, wholly or partially, on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about the institution of marriage.” That Indiana bill that caused the big uproar didn’t even have the word “marriage” in it.
There’s even a pie-in-the-sky-are-you-shittin-us section about how allowing for discrimination will contribute to a more tolerant society: “Laws that protect the free exercise of religious beliefs or moral convictions about marriage will encourage private citizens and institutions to demonstrate similar tolerance and therefore contribute to a more respectful, diverse, and peaceful society.” You got that? If you’re free to tell the marrying queers that they can’t have their reception in your nice hall, you make this a better country for all of us.
The author of the bill is State Representative Mike Johnson, who comes from the shitkicker District 8 in Bossier Parish, tucked under Arkansas (which didn’t mention marriage in its failed religious freedom restoration bill) and across the Red River from the much more racially diverse Shreveport. Yeah, Johnson won in a special election back in February of this year, with a bio that reads like a fuck dream involving Jerry Falwell, a big crucifix, and a half-empty jar of Vaseline: “Mike has provided legal representation and consultation to many national organizations as well, including: the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, Living Waters Publications/Way of the Master, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Answers in Genesis, and the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.”
Governor Bobby Jindal, who looks like he swallowed at least one goat testicle that got stuck in his throat, supports the hell out of the bill because it’s not like he has a record to run on for president. But already, the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, being concerned about, you know, commerce, has said, “Whoa, whoa, what the fuck are you doing?” And IBM, which is a big employer in the state, put out a statement to Jindal that said, “IBM has made significant investments in Louisiana including most recently a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge, creating new jobs for Louisiana workers. We located the center in Baton Rouge because we believe Louisiana has great talent and would continue to be a rich source of such talent. However a bill that legally protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status will create a hostile environment for our current and prospective employees, and is antithetical to our company’s values.”
Who knows if the thing will pass? Weirder shit has happened lately. But you can bet that the glory-seeking nutzoids will always try to appeal to their mad minions.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on April 17, 2015, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.