Judge throws out Louisiana LGBTQ protection executive order similar to McAuliffe’s
A lower court judge has sided with Louisiana’s conservative Attorney General in a law suit against the state’s Governor after he tried to protect LGBTQ state employees.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards (top image) issued the executive order in April of this year. It made it illegal to fire state employees or contractors for identifying as LGBTQ.
“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,” Edwards said in a statement at the time of the EO’s signing. While there were exemptions for religious organizations, the order also rescinded a controversial order passed by LA’s Republican former governor, Bobby Jindall, which protected people from being sued if they denied services to someone for being LGBTQ.
This fall, the order was challenged by the state’s AG, Jeff Landry, who questioned the authority it gave considering the lack of similar protections from the state’s legislative body.
Judge Todd Hernandez, who over saw the case, wrote in his ruling that “The effect of [the executive order's] adoption and implementation, creates new and/or expands upon existing Louisiana law as opposed to directing the faithful execution of the existing law of this state.”
Edwards’ EO mirrors one Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the day he entered office. It too provides protections for LGBTQ state employees. Former Gov. Tim Kaine signed a similar order, thou Republican Gov Bob McDonnell signed an alternative EO which removed LGBTQs and added veterans, a class already protected at the federal level.
Virginia also lacks legislatively-approve LGBTQ protections. And while the lower court ruling is less powerful than a federal court, it does show how such laws could be address in future hearings.
Here lies the problem with EO protections – they depend on the whim of the executive body in charge.
Virginia will vote for a new Governor in 2017, and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is currently the only Democratic candidate in the race. Northam has expressed his support for LGBTQ equality in a long form interview with GayRVA earlier this year.
The current leading GOP Candidate, Ed Gillespie, has been vague on his support for LGBT protections in the workplace though as late as 2014 he said he opposed state-sanctioned same-sex marriage.
According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, Gillespie lead among the GOP still lags behind Northam, 32% to 38% – but if the 2017 election taught us anything, polls might not be the best way to judge outcomes in elections anymore.
When Fairfax County Public Schools codified protections for LGBTQ students, local conservative groups got mad, but their attempts to roll back the protections have been dealt yet another blow today, According to the Associated Press, The Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a law suit against FCPS because of the groups “lack [...]April 13, 2017
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