Last updated: 04:11 PM ET, Thu July 02 2015

NOLA Tourism Comes Out Swinging Against Religious Freedom Law

Destination & Tourism | New Orleans CVB | Claudette Covey | May 21, 2015

NOLA Tourism Comes Out Swinging Against Religious Freedom Law

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The New Orleans tourism industry has come out swinging against an executive order issued by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, which, for all intents and purposes, replaces religious freedom legislation voted down by the state’s House Civil Law and Procedure committee.

Bill HB707, also known as the Marriage Protection Act, is similar to the controversial legislation passed in Indiana and Arkansas.

A statement released by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau countered that the executive order is essentially meaningless. “The New Orleans tourism industry, along with other state business sectors and leaders, after reviewing the Governor's executive order, and consulting with constitutional law experts and executive counsels to former governors who are experts on executive orders, are certain that, based on the Louisiana Constitution and recent court rulings, the enactment of any substantive law changes made by the governor in his executive order are invalid and have no impact on Louisiana law,” the statement said.

“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,” the statement went on to say. “It is important for those who visit Louisiana to know that its effect in essence is that of a political campaign document.”

Tourism officials also contend that the executive order is unnecessary. “There are no pending cases of any Louisiana business and especially no hospitality businesses engaging in discrimination,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention Visitors Bureau. “New Orleans has historically demonstrated itself as one of the most welcoming, open, tolerant, and inviting communities in the world.”

The statement made clear that the tourism industry plans to conduct business the way it historically has. “We will continue with our CVB and economic development partners to promote and market New Orleans and Louisiana as destinations for the world’s greatest vacations, conventions and meetings, and special events and as premier sites for economic growth and expansion that offer the ultimate in inclusiveness, tolerance, and acceptance with a dynamic, vibrant and entrepreneurial bent and culturally rich climate,” said Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. “This is a hallmark of who we are as people.”

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