Edwards issues protections for gay employees, marriages
BATON ROUGE- Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order protecting gay employees and marriages.
The order provides employment protections for state employees and employees of state contractors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age.
The executive order also prohibits discrimination in services provided by state agencies, and recognizes an exemption for churches and religious organizations.
Edwards’ order opposes former Governor Bobby Jindal’s executive order extending provisions included in Mike Johnson's Marriage and Conscience Act rejected by the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure during last year’s regular legislative session.
"The previous administration’s executive I am rescinding was meant to serve a narrow political agenda," Edwards said. “It does nothing but divide our state and forced the business community, from Louisiana’s smallest businesses to large corporations, like IBM, to strongly oppose it. This executive order threatens Louisiana’s business growth, and it goes against everything we stand for– unity, acceptance, and opportunity for all.”
Edwards said that he wants everyone in the state to be successful and promote opportunities.
“We are fortunate enough to live in a state that is rich with diversity, and we are built on a foundation of unity and fairness for all of our citizens,” Edwards said.
Edwards said that he respects citizens for their beliefs, but the state does not discriminate based on disagreements.
“While this executive order respects the religious beliefs of our people, it also signals to the rest of the country that discrimination is not a Louisiana value, but rather, that Louisiana is a state that is respective and inclusive of everyone around us,” Edwards said.
There is currently no state law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) Louisianans from employment discrimination.