Washington, D.C. – The National Organization for Women (NOW) condemns Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s Executive Order BJ 15-8, a measure that uses religion to justify discrimination and denial of basic rights to same-sex couples.
NOW has decided not to cancel our annual national conference in New Orleans June 19 – 21, despite Governor Jindal’s homophobic action. We are thankful that New Orleans’ Mayor Mitch Landrieu has confirmed that city’s acceptance and welcome to all. With Mayor Landrieu’s Counter Executive Order in mind, we will go forward with the conference.
LGBTQIA rights are among NOW’s core issues. In our Statement of Purpose NOW makes clear that the organization promotes “freedom from discrimination because of race, ethnic origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation/identity, gender identity, gender expression, or parenthood.” Many of NOW’s members, including in elected leadership positions, are LGBTQIA. We will not rest until full civil and human rights are recognized for all LGBTQIA persons throughout our country — including in Louisiana.
Despite the gains made in recent years, women still face challenges in many spheres. This is particularly true in Louisiana, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation and has done little to narrow its gender and gender-race wage gaps, end employment discrimination, improve access to comprehensive healthcare or provide support for pregnancy, childbirth and raising children. Governor Jindal’s cynical use of religion as a rationalization to discriminate against same-sex couples adds to the challenges faced by lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in the state.
In a 2013 poll conducted by LSU Public Policy Research Lab the people of Louisiana showed overwhelming support for treating LGBTQIA people fairly. Mayor Landrieu has reaffirmed that support for fair treatment in his Counter-Executive Order to Governor Jindal’s Order stating that New Orleans “is an accepting, inviting city that thrives on its diversity and welcomes people from all walks of life with open arms.” NOW looks forward to that welcome in New Orleans.