Louisiana Judge Rules Against Governor’s LGBT Executive Order in Attorney General’s Shameful LawsuitBy Adam Polaski • December 14, 2016 • 2:52 pm
Today, December 14, 19th Judicial District Court Judge Todd Hernandez issued a ruling against a 2016 executive order in Louisiana protecting LGBT contractors and employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Governor John Bel Edwards issued the executive order in April of this year, an important step forward for LGBT equality in the state.
This ruling means that Gov. John Bel Edwards’ order requiring the executive branch of the state to refrain from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in hiring and the provision of services by state agencies, and additionally requiring state contractors to refrain from such discrimination in their hiring practices, must not be enforced. This contradicts the precedent set by similar orders issued by Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Gov. Edwin Edwards.
Baylor Boyd, President of Equality Louisiana, said today:
“Today’s decision is a setback to the progress made in keeping Louisiana a fairer and more equitable place to live and work. Edwards’ executive order raised Louisiana’s profile as a great place to do business, and this ruling will immediately harm our ability to attract major convention, tourism and sporting events. … We are disappointed, but not discouraged. We remain committed to building a Louisiana where hardworking LGBTQ people are judged on their job performance, not on who they are or who they love. Discrimination is not a Louisiana value. We stand with Gov. Edwards’ decision to quickly appeal this ruling,” said Baylor Boyd, president of Equality Louisiana.”
Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe added today:
“No one should ever be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Governor Edwards did the right thing in extending these protections to LGBT employees and the employees of those companies wishing to do business with the state of Louisiana – and he was not the first governor to do so. It’s unfortunate Attorney General Landry actively sought to rescind badly needed workplace protections from some of his fellow Louisianans.”
Edwards has already committed to appealing the decision in an attempt to ensure Louisiana’s LGBT state employees cannot be discriminated against simply because of who they are.
In many states, governors have recognized the need to protect LGBT people from discrimination in state employment and government contract work – from Pennsylvania to Montana, executive orders like Gov. Edwards’ do the vital work of extending some limited protections from discrimination to vulnerable members of the LGBT community. This shameful ruling – emanating from a mean-spirited lawsuit from Attorney General Landry – is on the wrong side of history, and it highlights the pressing, urgent need for Louisiana and Congress as a whole to establish LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections, unequivocally.