Louisiana lawmaker considering similar religious freedom bill as Indiana, Arkansas

Louisiana lawmaker considering similar religious freedom bill as Indiana, Arkansas
(Source: KSLA News 12 archives)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Protests across the nation are gaining ground after lawmakers in Indiana passed a controversial law that some say discriminates against the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBT) community. The laws, as originally written, allow business owners to use their religious beliefs to deny services to certain people.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a similar revised religious objections bill into law.

The question is, could Louisiana be next for this controversial legislation?

Newly elected Representative Mike Johnson of Bossier City is considering proposing a similar bill aimed to protect religious freedom.

"Representative Johnson has a very long history of anti-gay activism. He went to court representing another group, he went to court to take away health insurance benefits for gay people and their families in New Orleans," said Adrienne Critcher, the political director for People Acting for Change and Equality (PACE).

"Louisiana, as a state, has no protections for LGBT people. Shreveport and New Orleans have non-discrimination protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. But our state as a whole, does not," said Critcher. She continued, "Those are just the same rights that everybody else already has. Religious people have all of those rights."

Louisiana already has a Religious Freedoms and Liberties Law in place, passed in 2010.

Critcher believes the revised bill, if proposed, would be bad for the state, and for business.

"Those businesses have gay employees, and they do not want to bring that business to a state where their employees will be discriminated against," said Critcher.

Representative Johnson has until Friday to propose the bill. We reached out to him repeatedly for comment, but we were told he is traveling and he did not return our phone calls.

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