|Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards|
Today, Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order providing employment protections for LGBT state employees and employees of state contractors.
This executive order also prohibits discrimination in services provided by state agencies, and recognizes an exemption for churches and religious organizations.
The Democratic governor also rescinded his Republican predecessor’s order offering protections to people who oppose same-sex marriage.
There is currently no state law protecting LGBT Louisianans from employment discrimination.
“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,” said Gov. Edwards. “We respect our fellow citizens for their beliefs, but we do not discriminate based on our disagreements. I believe in giving every Louisianan the opportunity to be successful and to thrive in our state. Our goal is to promote the opportunities we have right here in Louisiana. 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.”
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz issued this statement via press release in support of the governor's executive order:
“I applaud Governor John Edwards for continuing our party’s strong tradition of equality and protecting all Americans from discrimination. His executive order protecting state workers and contractors from anti-LGBT discrimination will help ensure that LGBT Louisianans have the equal protection under the law they deserve.
“Governor Edwards’ leadership stands in stark contrast to the disingenuous arguments that we’ve heard from Republican leaders in North Carolina, in Mississippi, in Washington, DC, and elsewhere. We have seen Republican Governors cater to the most extreme voices in their party by signing anti-LGBT bills and we’ve seen the Republican National Committee endorse policies that would further target the LGBT community for discrimination.
“Sadly, anti-LGBT measures have become part of the standard Republican playbook. Discrimination is neither a ‘right’ nor a ‘liberty.’ Hatred holds our nation back, and creates divisions where none should exist.
“Governor Edwards’ action today proves once again that the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion, diversity, and respect for all. It’s long past time for the Republican Party to join our efforts to expand equality for everyone.”