AG: Edwards' anti-discrimination order not binding legally
BATON ROUGE - Attorney General Jeff Landry's office says provisions in an LGBT rights anti-discrimination order issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards have "no binding legal effect."
In April, the Democratic governor banned discrimination in state government based on sexual orientation and gender identity. State contracts also were to be required to comply, except contractors that are religious organizations.
The opinion, requested by a group of Republican lawmakers, was posted to the GOP attorney general's website Wednesday.
It says an executive order cannot create or expand state law or establish a new protected class of people that doesn't exist in law. Landry's office says Edwards' order should "be interpreted as merely aspirational."
An attorney general's opinion does not carry the force of law, but could be used to lay groundwork for a lawsuit.
Edwards responded to Landry's opinion Wednesday afternoon, saying the Attorney General overstepped the authority of his office.
"My executive order, as has been the case with previous executive orders, is a fully constitutional, good faith effort by the state to eliminate employment discrimination of any kind,” said Gov. Edwards. “More importantly, this executive order, for the first time, was written in a way that respects the religious beliefs of every single person in Louisiana. Discrimination, of any kind, is not a Louisiana value, and I will do everything in my power, including enforcing this order, to foster a productive and welcoming work environment in Louisiana’s state government.”