Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Gov. Bobby Jindal unilaterally implements controversial religious freedom protections

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.