Lambda Legal Applauds Louisiana Gov. Edwards for Banning LGBT Discrimination in State Work and Services

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April 13, 2016
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Louisiana Gov. John Edwards. Photo by Marie Constantin.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards today issued an executive order that extends non-discrimination protections for state workers, those who work for state contractors, and those who receive state services or benefits to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Gov. Edwards, in stark contrast with his neighbor to the East, today issued an executive order that establishes meaningful protections for LGBT Louisianans who work for the state or state contractors, or who receive services from the state. He is to be commended for standing on the right side of history.

This is an important step forward that reinstates protections that Gov. Bel Edwards’ predecessor had rescinded, and importantly extends those protections to include gender identity.

We applaud Gov. Edwards for his courageous stand, especially when some of his fellow Southern governors have instead chosen to perpetuate stigma and fear-mongering.

We do note, of course, that this executive order comes at a time when an enormously harmful and discriminatory bill, HB 597, is wending its way through the Louisiana House of Representatives. This bill, much like Mississippi’s recently enacted HB 1523, would expand the definition of religious freedom beyond all recognition and write into Louisiana law new, improper rights to discriminate against LGBT Louisianans.

We urge Louisiana’s elected representatives to reject this misguided bill and hope Gov. Bel Edwards, should this bill reach his desk, will demonstrate the courage and leadership he showed with today’s executive order and veto HB 597.

Thank you, Gov. Edwards, for having the courage and compassion to do what is right—ensuring that all who work for the state, paid by all state taxpayers, can bring their full selves to work every day and do their best work for the people of Louisiana.

Read the press release.

Louisiana