Can A City Legally Have A Different Tolerance Level Than A State?

I would move to New Orleans tomorrow if I had a job there.  It is a city that is welcoming, warm (damn hot in the summer!), accepting, relaxing, and exciting for it has something going on every time you look down the next street.  It's a city just about anyone can find a corner or neighborhood to be comfortable in. 

I've been to New Orleans about 14 times or so and have spent many a paycheck in the French Quarter and throughout the city.  NOLA loves its tourists and their money. 

New Orleans attracted 9.52 million visitors in 2014, about 240,000 — or 2.6 percent — more people than in 2013.  The visitors spent $6.81 billion on entertainment, shopping, food, drinks and hotel stays during the year. That was 5.3 percent more than tourists spent in 2013 and the highest figure in the city’s history. – theneworleansadvocte.com

When it comes to New Orleans, it's a party town and all are welcome to partake.  The wecloming feeling you get from the city is amazing.  You can literally feel it.  Unfortunately, this may be a little different stance that the rest of Louisiana, if Govenor Bobby Jindal has his way.

Within a few hours after the controversial "Marriage and Conscience Act" was voted back to the legislative calendar by a Louisiana House committee, Gov. Bobby Jindal is readying an executive order to "to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman."

In a statement, Jindal said he was "disappointed in the committee's action" to effectively kill the bill as it will likely wait out the remainder of the 2015 legislative session. Jindal's executive order "will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.” – bestofneworleans.com

One excerpt of the Executive order reads as follows:

full copy of Jindal's executive order can be found here.

So is Jindal's Executive order so bad? Most agree it is similar to Indiana's attempt at 15 minutes of stupidity fame.  Equality Louisiana and Louisiana Progress Action thinks so.  They oppose the measure and responded to Jindal's statement as follows:

But what of New Orleans?  Does the city need to follow along with the governor's executive order?  Will NOLA listen to EQLA and LPA?  They did indeed.

One day after Gov. Bobby Jindal issued his "Marriage & Conscience" executive order, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has issued his own executive order, saying "the City of New Orleans appropriately balances religious beliefs of all kinds with civil liberties, including freedom from discrimination."  Critics, including Landrieu and members of the New Orleans tourism community, called Jindal's bill divisive and said it would adversely affect tourism and conventions in Louisiana — which it seemed to do when state legislators in New York called upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban all non-essential state travel to Louisiana.

Landrieu's executive order came one day after the city announced it would bid on the right to host the Super Bowl in 2019 and 2020. The city tourism effort New Orleans Will also issued its own statement, saying, "This executive order is largely a political statement by our conservative governor in support of his national position on the issue. That is certainly his right. It is important for those who visit Louisiana to know that its effect in essence is that of a political campaign document." And the city's official tourism website highlighted "New Orleans Welcomes All," a page featuring male couples enjoying the city's tourism attractions.  – bestofneworleans.com

What is Jindal doing?  Is he setting up Louisiana to be another Indiana in regard to backward religious freedom laws?  Is he making Louisiana another Arizona, threatening to lose Super Bowl bids because the state government supports discrimination? 

Whatever the case, besides being morally ignorant, the other big question is, will it hurt tourism in New Orleans? You can look at it two different ways.  You can see it as Landrieu's statement reaching out like a big middle finger from New Orleans toward Baton Rouge, saying we will do what we want down here and not think twice for discrimination is not something we do.  Or you could see it as New Orleans learning from itself, turning a corner, having a good time and leaving whatever happened on the last block behind, looking ahead and exclaiming "Laissez les bon temps roulez." 

Bravo to New Orleans, but can a city have different laws about tolerance than the rest of the state?  Let's see how this pans out in the next few weeks.  See you all for Southern Decadence.

Here is Mayor Landrieu's full executive order.

EXECUTIVE ORDER

MJL 15-01

WHEREAS, the City of New Orleans is proud to be a culturally rich community of faith, inclusion, tolerance, and diversity;

WHEREAS, the City of New Orleans is proud to foster an environment for its residents, visitors, and businesses that is welcoming, just and inclusive;

WHEREAS, the free exercise of religion in the City of New Orleans, including religious beliefs relating to marriage, is both a constitutionally protected right, and a matter of paramount importance to the fabric of New Orleans;

WHEREAS, the freedom against discrimination on any basis is a matter of equal paramount importance to the fabric of New Orleans;

WHEREAS, in 2010 Louisiana enacted the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act which prohibits governmental burden of a person’s exercise of religion;

WHEREAS, New Orleans City Code Chapter 86 currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and any public accommodation based on race, creed, national origin or ancestry, color, religion, gender or sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, marital status, age, physical condition or disability;

WHEREAS, to the extent permitted by law, contracts entered into by the City of New Orleans contain a requirement that City contractors, consultants or partners will not, in the performance of the contract, discriminate or retaliate, in fact or in perception, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, culture, ancestral history, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or domestic partner status, physical or mental disability, or AIDS- or HIV-status;

WHEREAS, the City of New Orleans appropriately balances religious beliefs of all kinds with civil liberties, including freedom from discrimination.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MITCHELL J. LANDRIEU, BY THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN ME as Mayor of the City of New Orleans by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana and the Home Rule Charter and laws of the City of New Orleans, HEREBY ORDER AS FOLLOWS:

Purpose: The purpose of this Executive Order is to confirm for the residents of the City of New Orleans, its businesses and visitors that religious beliefs are protected from unjustified governmental burden, but that there is no tolerance in the City of New Orleans for discrimination on the basis of race, creed, national origin or ancestry, color, religion, gender or sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, marital or domestic partner status, age, physical condition or disability.
All departments, commissions, boards, agencies of the City are authorized and directed to take cognizance of and comply with this Executive Order and the anti-discrimination laws of the City of New Orleans.
Effective Date: This Executive Order is effective upon the date of its issuance.

Signed,

Mitchell J. Landrieu

May 21, 2015

1 thought on “Can A City Legally Have A Different Tolerance Level Than A State?”

  1. That’s New Orleans trying to

    That's New Orleans trying to save itself from Louisiana's ignorance and I applaud that but the sad part is New Orleans is in the state of Louisiana and will have to pay the price. I love New Orleans as most do but the state won't protect me from discrimination for being a gay man. I wouldn't patronize anything "Louisiana" until they come to their senses and embrace equality. Legal discrimination is ugly!

    Reply

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