Thursday, 16 November 2017 23:39

Executive Order protecting LGBT employees rejected in Louisiana

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A Louisiana court has ruled unconstitutional protections for LGBT employees in state-owned companies. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has failed in his attempt to protect LGBT people.

What happened?

  • In April 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed an order to protect LGBT employees against discrimination in state-owned companies.
  • A few months later, Attorney General Jeff Landry seized the court to abolish the order, considering that it violated the law of the state.
  • In December 2016, a judge in Baton Rouge described this executive order as illegal: "[The order] is a violation of the Louisiana Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine and an unlawful usurp of the constitutional authority vested only in the legislative branch of government."
  • Governor Edwards then tried to reinstate this order by appealing the decision.
  • But the Court of Appeals has confirmed the decision. It stated that this order was unconstitutional. The judges said that a governor could not set up a law on his own without first passing through the Legislature.

We can read in the court's statement: "[T]he limited power of the Governor to issue Executive Orders does not inherently constitute authority to exercise the legislative lawmaking function...

The Governor’s Executive Order, in this case, goes beyond a mere policy statement or directive to fulfill the law because there is no current state or federal law specifically outlining anti-discrimination laws concerning and/or defining sexual orientation or gender identity...

Clearly, the Louisiana legislature and the people of the State of Louisiana have not yet revised the laws and/or the state Constitution to specifically add “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to the list of protected persons relating to discrimination.

Further, there is no binding federal law or jurisprudence banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Thus, we agree with the district court that the Governor’s Executive Order constituted an unconstitutional interference with the authority vested solely in the legislative branch of our state government by expanding the protections that currently exist in anti-discrimination laws rather than directing faithful execution of the existing anti-discrimination laws of this state."

  • Know that Governor Edwards doesn't give up! He said that he would review the ruling to decide the next steps to combat this discrimination.

Photo from nbcnews