Louisiana High Court Rejects LGBT Rights Order


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In a 4-3 decision, Louisiana's Supreme Court on Friday rejected Gov. John Bel Edwards' attempt to revive an executive order protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in state government.

The court refused to hear arguments on Edwards' April 2016 order banning discrimination in state government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, often at odds with the Democratic governor, had challenged the order. A state district judge and appellate court agreed that it constituted an unconstitutional attempt to expand state law.

Justices Greg Guidry, Scott Crichton, James Genovese and Marcus Clark rejected the case without comment.

Chief Justice Bernette Johnson dissented, joined by justices Jefferson Hughes and John Weimer.

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Johnson rejected the idea that the anti-discrimination order constituted an illegal legislative act by a governor.

"It is a rational policy choice that is consistent with the governor's legal obligation to faithfully execute the Equal Protection Clause and the broad remedial purpose of both state and federal anti-discrimination statutes," Johnson wrote, noting that former Govs. Edwin Edwards and Kathleen Blanco had issued similar orders.

"I am dismayed that Louisiana finds itself, yet again, on the wrong side of history in a matter of civil rights and social justice," Johnson wrote.

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"While I accept the court's ruling today, I am disappointed in their decision," the current Gov. Edwards said in a news release. "That disappointment is only overshadowed by my frustration that the courts believe that discrimination is something we should tolerate in Louisiana."

Landry issued a statement praising the ruling. "Hopefully, this will end the governor's waste of precious taxpayer resources in defense of his unconstitutional actions," Landry said.

– by AP reporter Kevin McGill

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