Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Tuesday issued an executive order enshrining protections for people and businesses that do not want to serve same-sex couples.
"We don't support discrimination in Louisiana and we do support religious liberty," Jindal said in a statement. "These two values can be upheld at the same time."
The order came shortly after a panel in the state legislature voted down a proposed bill, the Marriage and Conscience Act, that would have had a similar effect. In nixing the legislation, the panel said it was concerned the so-called religious freedom bill could trigger a backlash similar to those seen in other states that pursued religious freedom laws this year. In the most high-profile case, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) dropped his defense of a religious freedom law and called for it to be tweaked to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Critics of the move accused Jindal — who launched a presidential exploratory committee this week — of pandering to the religious right in an attempt to improve his odds of winning the GOP nomination.