IBM ribbon-cutting canceled after Gov. Jindal's executive order
BATON ROUGE - It appears IBM is not happy with Governor Bobby Jindal after the company cancelled a ceremonial ribbon-cutting set for Monday at its new facility in downtown Baton Rouge.
Sources tell WBRZ it's because of a controversial move by Jindal. After the religious freedom bill failed in the legislature a few weeks ago, Jindal signed an executive order hours later to enforce the same rules. The order protects companies and people from state punishments for actions based on religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.
WBRZ made numerous failed attempts to get IBM and Baton Rouge city leaders to discuss the issue. However, those who did speak said Jindal's order is just bad business.
"It has nothing to do at all with what's good for Louisiana. It's awful," said Matthew Patterson of Equality Louisiana. "It's absurd. There's not another word for it. This has nothing to do with what is good policy or what's good for the people of the state."
People in the LGBT community say the order will do nothing to improve life in Louisiana. In April, IBM voiced concerns opposing the bill saying it would allow discrimination against same-sex couples.
Jindal then sent a letter to IBM defending the bill saying that "In Louisiana, we do not support discrimination, and we do support religious liberty, and we believe we can uphold both of those values simultaneously."
Monday Governor Jindal's office issued a statement saying "We are thrilled that IBM is opening a new 800-job facility in downtown Baton Rouge and proud that more and more companies are choosing Louisiana as a place to call home, providing thousands of new jobs. We remain committed to protecting the right to religious liberty and ensuring the state cannot discriminate against our people, charities and businesses."
It's unclear if IBM will hold a ribbon-cutting for the new facility sometime in the future.