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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 7, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 41
Louisiana governor sues state's attorney general to defend LGBT protections
Section One
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Louisiana governor sues state's attorney general to defend LGBT protections

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Louisiana's Democratic governor has filed suit against the state's Republican attorney general for blocking state legal contracts because they contain language protecting LGBT employees from discrimination in the workplace.

Governor John Bel Edwards took office January 11. One of his first official acts was to issue an executive order adding anti-discrimination protections for LGBT workers to all Louisiana state contracts. Similar language barring discrimination based on race, religious creed, and political affiliation is also included in state contracts.

To date, Attorney General Jeff Landry has blocked 'at least three dozen legal contracts for a variety of state government agencies because they include language preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,' the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

'I believe he is on the wrong side of the law and the wrong side of history,' Edwards says.

The governor met with the attorney general on September 30 in an attempt to resolve the standoff, but when Landry refused to back down, Edwards filed suit.

'He basically told me that if I wanted him to approve those contracts that I would have to sue him,' Edwards said at a press conference. 'So I'm obliging him on that.'

Among other issues, the contracts blocked by Landry involve employment at the state's ports, potential medical malpractice awards for patients, and oversight of state bonds.

'It's becoming a real problem because we have to move forward,' Edwards said.

Landry said he was rejecting the contracts because the state legislature had declined on several occasions to pass laws protecting LGBT people. He is simply protecting the will of the Legislature in rejecting contracts with LGBT protections, Landry said.

Edwards believes he has the authority to require such nondiscrimination language in state contracts as the chief executive officer of the state. Two previous Democratic governors, Edwin Edwards and Kathleen Blanco, had issued similar executive orders protecting LGBT people. Blanco's successor, Republican Bobby Jindal, cancelled Blanco's executive order.

On taking office, Edwards cancelled all of Jindal's executive orders protecting businesses and nonprofit organizations who oppose same-sex marriage. Jindal's order prohibited state agencies from penalizing businesses and individuals who act from a 'religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.'

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