Louisiana Governor to challenge court ruling that threw out LGBT discrimination protections

The Governor of Louisiana has vowed to appeal a court ruling that threw out an order protecting LGBT people in the workplace.

John Bel Edwards took office in the state this year, and swiftly signed an executive order protecting state employees and contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

State Republicans vowed to oppose the move, and Attorney General Jeff Landry sued the governor, asking the court to throw out those explicit protections that do not exist under state law.

This week, Judge Todd Hernandez of the 19th Judicial District Court threw out the Governor’s order, amid a legal battle over the Governor’s authority.

The Governor said: “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 recognises 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.”

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said: “This is a setback with serious consequences for LGBTQ state employees and contractors throughout Louisiana.

“No one should face unfair and unjust discrimination simply because of who they are or whom they love. Upon appeal, we are hopeful that justice will ultimately prevail and these important non-discrimination protections will be restored.”

Forum for Equality Executive Director Sarah Jane Brady said: “Unfortunately, the LGBT community suffered another setback after today’s ruling. These are protections that are not new: two prior Governors have issued similar orders.

“Forum for Equality is confident that the Governor will continue to fight for the rights of the LGBT community in this state.

“It is important at this time to be able to send a message to all people and businesses that Louisiana is moving forward and standing on the right side of history. We look forward to continuing to work towards that goal and fight for the rights of all LGBT citizens in Louisiana.”