Democratic Governor Wipes Away Predecessor's Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' Policy
Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards minutes ago rescinded former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's anti-LGBT "religious freedom" executive order, and expanded nondiscrimination protections for LGBT state employees.
Governor Edwards' executive 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," a press release states. It "also prohibits discrimination in services provided by state agencies, and recognizes an exemption for churches and religious organizations."
Eleven months ago, within minutes of state lawmakers failing to pass his key piece of signature legislation, the Louisiana Marriage And Conscience Act, Gov. Jindal signed an executive order that effectively accomplished what he hoped he could via legislation. HB 707, which failed in committee, was designed to discriminate against same-sex couples specifically, and LGBT people in general.
"We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will accomplish the intent of HB 707 to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman," Jindal said immediately after last year's vote.
Today, Gov. Bel Edwards rescinded that order, and made a broader statement at a time when his neighboring Southern State Governors and lawmakers are embracing radical and unconstitutional legislation.
"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," Gov. Edwards said. "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."
Last year Gov. Bel Edwards beat GOP U.S. Senator David Vitter in November's gubernatorial election.
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