'Religious freedom' debate headed to Louisiana Capitol
BATON ROUGE - The uproar over religious freedom laws that drew national attention in Indiana and Arkansas appears headed to Louisiana.
A newly-elected state lawmaker from Bossier City filed a religious objections bill Friday for consideration in the Louisiana legislative session that begins April 13.
The proposal by Republican Rep. Mike Johnson would ban the state from denying licenses, certifications, employment, contracts, benefits or tax deductions because of actions a person takes "in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction" about marriage.
In a posting on the conservative political blog The Hayride, Johnson said the bill would protect people from penalties by the state because of their beliefs on marriage.
Equality Louisiana, a gay rights organization, said Johnson's proposal would allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against gays, lesbians and transgender people. Supporters of the bill told News 2 that the issue at hand is not about gay rights.
"It has no effect on anyone else," said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. "It simply says that you, as one who holds a biblical view of marriage...the government cannot say as a non-profit, you can't participate in this program because of your view of marriage. It simply takes marriage off the table as a consideration."