Democratic Governor Also Plans Measure Protecting LGBT State Employees
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Following GOP Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's decision to veto a horrendous anti-gay "religious freedom" bill on Monday, there is more good news for LGBT rights in the Deep South.
On Monday the press secretary for Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he will rescind the sweeping anti-LGBT executive order signed by his predecessor, former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal last May. Jindal's order, which resulted in a lawsuit from the ACLU, allows businesses and state agencies to turn away LGBT people based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Back in December, after defeating Republican David Vitter in the race to replace Jindal, Gov. Edwards had said he also plans to sign an executive order extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT government employees and contractors.
A similar anti-LGBT "religious freedom" bill has been introduced in Louisiana this year, according to a report from The Advocate of Baton Rouge, but even if it passes, Gov. Edwards likely would veto it. Meanwhile, Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace is calling for lawmakers to remove the state's bans on sodomy and same-sex marriage from the books, but she concedes this is also unlikely.
"Frankly, even without the threat of being targeted, many Louisiana lawmakers seem reluctant to step up and take the lead on measures that promote fairness and acceptance toward gay people. It was no accident that opponents killed last year’s religious freedom bill by basically sidelining it, a maneuver that did not require legislators to take a public no vote," Grace writes. "I’m guessing the same goes for a proposal to remove the unconstitutional anti-gay measures from the law books. Doing so should be the easiest vote imaginable. That somehow it’s still not says an awful lot how far Louisiana’s government has to go to join the modern, ever-more-tolerant world."