Gov. Edwards' LGBT rights order thrown out by judge
BATON ROUGE - A judge has thrown out an executive order issued by Louisiana's governor that was aimed at protecting the rights of LGBT people in state government.
Judge Todd Hernandez ruled Wednesday that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' anti-discrimination order is unconstitutional. The order prohibited discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"I applaud Judge Hernandez for basing his ruling on the law, not politics,” Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry said. “My challenge has always been about upholding the checks and balances on executive authority as established in our State Constitution.”
The decision delivered a significant victory to Landry, who filed the lawsuit challenging the LGBT-rights order.
“After efforts to advance his extreme agenda failed by large bipartisan majorities in the Legislature, John Bel Edwards took it upon himself to replace the people’s will with his own," Landry said.
Edwards said his order, with an exception for contractors that are religious organizations, is a statement that Louisiana doesn't discriminate. Landry said it tries to establish a new protected class of people that doesn't exist in law and that lawmakers refused to add.
Landry has blocked dozens of legal services contracts that contain the anti-discrimination language.
Edwards released the following statement on Judge Hernandez's ruling:
"We are disappointed in the court's ruling today. However, we fully intend to appeal this issue, which is how the parties knew that this matter would ultimately be resolved. In his ruling, the judge declared that Louisiana law recognizes the governor as the constitutionally superior officer to the attorney general, but did not agree that the executive order is within the authority of the governor to implement. With great respect for the role of the Louisiana legislature, we continue to believe that discrimination is not a Louisiana value and that we are best served as a state when employment decisions are based solely on an individual's qualifications and job performance. We respect the trial court's decision and will abide by it while we vigorously pursue an appeal."
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