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Businessman: Baton Rouge hurt because it's not progressive enough

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Posted: Jan 20, 2014 3:16 PM by Trey Schmaltz
Updated: Jan 20, 2014 3:16 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 4.0 (3 votes)
    •  Joe Traigle speaks to the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday. Joe Traigle speaks to the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.
    • Joe Traigle speaks to the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.
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Topics: baton rouge, press club, gay, rights, equality

BATON ROUGE- Advocates of gay rights want Baton Rouge to have an open discussion on being more accepting, and they believe doing so will make the city even more appealing to new businesses.

Joe Traigle has been working to make Baton Rouge more equality friendly for nearly two decades and told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday afternoon, now is the time to ramp up efforts and get leaders to listen.

"We need to open {the discussion} up to other people," Traigle said about getting others involved in the city's future besides what he called the "BR Establishment," who he feels have not done enough to make the city more progressive.

"We just need to change our perspective about how we are going to be competitive in the future," he said.
A big issue for Traigle and the 25,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people who live in the city, is the lack of laws protecting them at the workplace.

"Federal protection is afforded to race, religion, gender, and political affiliation, and history is fast approaching the point when discrimination based on sexual orientation will come under federal protection," Traigle told those who gathered in the audience.

He pointed to other cities in Louisiana, like Shreveport, where steps have been taken to protect gays in the community. Traigle believes businesses see that and move there instead of Baton Rouge.

City leaders failed to act on similar, city legislation in the past.

Traigle said city leaders have taken trips to forward-thinking cities like Austin, Raleigh-Durham, Portland, Nashville, and Orlando to learn about what can be done in East Baton Rouge. But, ten years after the first trip, Traigle believes little has been done.

According to Traigle, a representative from the mayor's office was invited and committed to attend lunch but did not show up.
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