The Curious Timing of Louisiana Gov. Jindal's Absence at Values Voter Summit

As recently as Sept. 26, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was listed as a confirmed speaker for this afternoon at the Values Voter Summit – the annual religious-right conference hosted by prominent anti-LGBT hate groups like the Family Research Council (FRC) and American Family Association.

But on that day, we criticized Jindal for appointing the FRC’s president, Tony Perkins, to a state law enforcement commission. Not only is the FRC an anti-LGBT hate group, we observed, but Perkins has a checkered history concerning race and ethics and even failed to attend meetings for the other Louisiana commission he sits on – the Commission on Marriage and Family.

We also noted that Jindal was scheduled to speak, as he’s done in the past, at the Values Voter Summit. Later that day, the conference schedule was updated to change Jindal from “confirmed” to “invited.”

Then on Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center, publisher of Hatewatch, joined with a number of human rights groups to send a letter to Jindal calling on him to not lend the prestige of his office to the conference. Later in the day, Jindal spokesperson Kyle Plotkin told the Times Picayune that Jindal would not be attending due to a scheduling conflict. And yesterday Plotkin told the Baton Rouge Advocate, “We unfortunately are not able to attend the event because of a scheduling conflict, but we wish all the participants the best.”

The timing of Jindal’s scheduling conflict is convenient, to say the least. He switched from confirmed to invited on Sept. 26 after being criticized for the Perkins appointment (as you can see below) and then dropped off altogether after the letter was sent to reporters on October 7.

Regardless of why he skipped the event, what matters at the end of the day is that Jindal isn’t lending his support to groups that demonize LGBT with falsehoods. In the future, we hope that public officials will not cite scheduling conflicts but rather the bigotry and extremism at the core of the event’s organizers.