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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Judge sides with AG Landry in LGBT discrimination suit

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 12:45 PM

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In a blow to LGBT rights in Louisiana, Baton Rouge's 19th Judicial District Court Judge Todd Hernandez ruled against the inclusion of anti-discrimination language in state contracts, which Gov. John Bel Edwards authorized in an executive order this year. State Attorney General Jeff Landry had refused to sign state contracts that included language protecting LGBT people from discrimination; the state Legislature repeatedly has turned down measures to update anti-discrimination laws to include protections for LGBT people.

Hernandez ruled that the governor overstepped his authority by creating the order. Edwards says he intends to appeal the issue.

"We are disappointed in the court's ruling today," Edwards said in a statement. "In his ruling, the judge declared that Louisiana law recognizes the governor as the constitutionally superior officer to the attorney general, but did not agree that the executive order is within the authority of the governor to implement. With great respect for the role of the Louisiana legislature, we continue to believe that discrimination is not a Louisiana value and that we are best served as a state when employment decisions are based solely on an individual’s qualifications and job performance.”

It's the latest victory for Landry, who has established himself the antagonist to Edwards' administration, from challenging LGBT protections to railing against "sanctuary" policies. Hernandez's ruling, however, notes that the governor's executive office is "constitutionally superior" to the AG, but Edwards' executive 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."

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