New Louisiana Gov. to Fight LGBT Job Discrimination

Future Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards stated he wants to issue a protective law for LGBT employees when he takes office in January. It is currently legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation in Louisiana (New Orleans and Shreveport have exceptions). Including Louisiana, it is currently legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity in 18 states.


“I would characterize it as a landslide, certainly, for a Democrat in a state like Louisiana,” Robert Hogan, a political scientist with Louisiana State University, said regarding the election.

Edwards beat his opponent, Sen. David Vitter, in a shocking election in which he received 56 percent of the state’s votes. Louisiana has not elected a Democrat to any statewide office since 2008.

Although Edwards is a Democrat, he is typically a more conservative one. He is Catholic and very public regarding his anti-abortion views, and he has stated he personally does not support same-gender marriage. However, he has said that his personal beliefs would not conflict with the law already in place; when asked about the Kim Davis scandal in Kentucky, he said in an interview, “I don’t believe anyone is free to deny those marriage licenses once the Supreme Court has ruled.”

This is a drastic change from Jindal, who has said he would never waver on his firm stance opposing gay marriage. “I know former Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton, President Obama, have changed their positions on this,” he said in an interview last year. “I’m not a weather vane on this issue and I’m not going to change my position. I continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Edwards’ proposed order wouldn’t protect every LGBT worker because it would not extend to branches of government out of his control, like the judiciary branch. However, his intentions already extend far beyond any actions of Jindal, who called such a protection “unnecessary.”

Edwards is not the first Louisiana governor who has wanted to offer these protections. The state’s two Democratic governors before Edwards, Edwin Edwards (who has no relation to John Bel Edwards) and Kathleen Blanco, took a stand on the issue as well. But incoming Republican governors after Edwin Edwards and Blanco rejected the measures.

LGBT groups in the state are hoping that Edwards will be the governor to make the order stick, which would be significant in the conservative state.

“People deserve not to be fired from their jobs because of who they are,” Matthew Patterson, a member of Equality Louisiana, said. Equality Louisiana is an LGBT advocacy group.

Sarah Jane Brady, a member of Forum for Equality, another group of LGBT advocators, said, “We are certainly looking forward to having a governor that makes human rights a priority.”

Given the state’s history, Edwards has a hard battle ahead of him. Gene Mills, head of the Louisiana Family Forum (a conservative Christian group), has already expressed his “concerns” over the potential order.

“I have equal concerns that religious liberties may be jeopardized,” Mills said. The group has already stated they will fight the measure.

Edwards and his team have not yet announced when the incoming governor plans to sign such an order. According to The Times-Picayune, “The governor-elect told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune directly a few weeks ago that he planned to sign such a document after he takes office. Two LGBT advocacy groups said Edwards has made similar commitments to them as well.”

Latest News

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…