Louisiana governor protects LGBT state workers while two harmful anti-LGBT bills are considered

While Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT people who work for state government, two anti-LGBT bills, SB 288 and HB 597, continue to progress in legislation.

The Non-discrimination Executive Order, signed by Gov. Edwards today, provides employment protections for state employees on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender idenitity among other things. Gov. Edwards stated, "We are fortuante 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...While this executive order respects the religous beliefs of our people, it also signlas to the rest of the country that discrimination is not a Louisiana value, but rather, that Louisiaa is a state that is respectful and inclusive of everyone around us." 

However, currently two anti-LGBT bills are circulating in the legislature that have made significant progress towards being passed. The first bill, SB 288, holds that businesses that hire with public money will not be able to enforce policies that protect LGBT employees. The second bill, HB 597, allows individuals employed by a religious organization, including homeless shelter, soup kitchens and medical professions to deny service and accommodations to LGBT people based on religious beliefs. While this section of the bill is presented as a "Pastor Protection Act," the vagueness of the language in the bill allows not only ministers and members of a clergy, but any other organization loosly defind as "religious" to discriminate based on its "sincerely held religious beliefs."

As of April 12th, the bill SB 288, which is sponsored by Senator Conrad Appel, has adopted by the Committee on Transportaion, Highways and Public Works in the Senate, and is pending its third reading and Senate final passage.  The second bill, HB 597, which is sponsored by Senator Mike Johnsons, has been amended based on the Comettee on Civil Law and Procedure's feedback and is pending its third reading and House final passage.  

Equality Louisiana is urging people to call their representatives and ask them to oppose the harmful HB597 and SB 288.

GLAAD has been speaking out against discriminatory bills such as SB 288 and HB 597, and has released "Debunking the 'Bathroom Bill' Myth." This is a valuable resource for journalists and everyday people to understand the importance and impact of nondiscrimination bills, and ways to debunk falsehoods that are often raised in opposition to such bills. GLAAD is calling on media both in Louisiana and nationally, to ask media to hold promoters of discriminatory bills accountable for false claims they have made.