One day after he delivered an address at a prayer rally organized by an anti-LGBT group, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signaled on Sunday he supports a U.S. constitutional amendment halting the progress of marriage equality in the courts.
In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate made the comments when asked if he agrees with comments from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said court action alone isn’t enough to legalize same-sex marriage in a state.
“I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. My faith teaches me that, my Christian faith teaches me that,” Jindal said. “If the Supreme Court were to throw out our law, our constitutional amendment — I hope they wouldn’t do that — if they were to do that, I certainly will support Ted Cruz and others that are talking about making an amendment in the Congress and D.C., a constitutional amendment to allow states to continue to define marriage.”
Jindal made the comments shortly after the Supreme Court agreed to determine whether a state can prohibit same-sex marriage by taking up cases filed in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee seeking marriage rights for gay couples. Meanwhile, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seems poised to strike down the prohibition on same-sex marriage in Jindal’s own state of Louisiana as well as similar prohibitions in Texas and Mississippi.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, criticized Jindal for backing restrictions on LGBT rights even as he makes a vision of freedom for Americans part of his political agenda.
“Candidates who profess to favor freedom, limited government and even respect for families and the states, disqualify themselves when they panderingly endorse a go-nowhere constitutional amendment that would subvert each and every one of those claimed values,” Wolfson said. “Yoking himself to Ted Cruz and appearing at extremist rallies will advance Jindal’s career ambitions about as much as his State of the Union response a few years ago.”
Speaking with the Washington Blade last week, Cruz confirmed he still plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would prohibit courts from overturning state marriage laws, but said judges already lack that authority. That’s along the lines of the views expressed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who’s said he thinks courts shouldn’t strike down bans on same-sex marriage.
As for other potential Republican presidential candidates, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has said courts don’t have the authority themselves to legalize same-sex marriage, and after rulings in favor of marriage equality, the legislature and governor must come up with an agreeable solution. But former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who’s an opponent of marriage equality, has said “regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law.”
Ian Sams, spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said Jindal’s words are the latest in a series of moves against the LGBT community.
“In one weekend, Bobby Jindal managed to speak to an organization that’s been labeled a hate group and spew out more of his characteristic anti-equality rhetoric,” Sams said. “I wish it were shocking, but Jindal — more than almost any other Republican candidate — has done less to take his own advice about ending the GOP’s reputation as a ‘stupid party.’ He’s kowtowed to the Duck Dynasty crew, continues to spread discredited anti-Muslim conspiracies, and now is doubling down on his long-held opposition to marriage equality and equal rights for LGBT Americans.”
The Human Rights Campaign, which has taken criticism for its response to Bush’s remarks on marriage, declined to comment on Jindal’s endorsement of a constitutional amendment against gay nuptials.
“We’re not going to comment every time they say something,” said Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications.
Jindal’s support for the planned amendment by Cruz comes the day after appearing at a Louisiana State University prayer rally hosted by the anti-LGBT American Family Association, which has been dubbed a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and called for an end to what it calls the “homosexual agenda.”
Calling for a “spiritual revival” of the country, Jindal — who grew up Hindu, but has converted to Catholicism — talked his about personal story of conversion before the group of Christian evangelicals and pushed for renewed faith.
“We can’t just elect a candidate to fix our country,” Jindal reportedly said. “We need a spiritual revival to fix our country.”
The event was similar to the prayer rally at which Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke in 2011 before he launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for the White House as a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.
According to media reports, people sang at the rally, raised their hands in prayer and gave personal testimonies, but hundreds more protested the event outside the arena early in the day.
Peter Jenkins, a 26-year-old Baton Rouge-based gender queer activist, said he participated in the rally because of the anti-LGBT history of the American Family Association, which includes blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people. Jenkins said the views of the organization “aren’t the views of the LSU community, or Louisiana or the United States.”
Jenkins added that Jindal’s participation in rally demonstrates the “country has has a long way to go” if elected officials will appear at events hosted by organization with “radical positions.”
Bruce Parker, coalition manager for Equality Louisiana, said he helped organize demonstrations against the prayer rally because Jindal took his anti-LGBT positions up a notch by participating in it.
Although Jindal has expressed anti-LGBT views before, Parker said the appearance was “the most blatant in terms of endorsing an anti-gay group.”
Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, dismissed Jindal’s support for a federal marriage amendment, saying the measure is a “non-starter,” but drew attention to the way in which Jindal’s appearance at the prayer rally could influence the Republican presidential race.
“It’s no secret that Governor Jindal has had aspirations for higher office, so his appearance at this AFA rally shouldn’t come as a surprise,” Angelo said. “The more interesting story is that it seems the evangelical vote will be split big-time in the 2016 primaries, which could provide an opening for a common-sense conservative to receive a plurality of votes in early primary states and thus nab the GOP nomination.”