BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is awaiting a ruling on his lawsuit against Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards regarding an executive order regarding the placement of language in state contracts disallowing discrimination based on a worker's sexual preference.
Landry filed the suit against Edwards claiming that the governor is overreaching in his position with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) order.
The executive order by Edwards was issued in April 2016 and states that discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be prohibited. The order exempts religious organization contractors and would prevent LGBT discrimination in the workplace.
In Landry’s suit, he claims that Edwards’ order is unconstitutional. Landry alleges that because it creates a protected class of people that does not exist in law today, it should be stopped. To date, lawmakers have refused to add an LGBT protection to law, making Edwards’ LGBT order a unique clause. Landry said he's concerned about the ambiguous language of the order that doesn’t define gender identity in any way.
Landry has filed for an injunction against the executive order and is trying to delay legal contracts that contain the LGBT protection clauses.
When asked in an interview on KEEL-AM if putting a stop to the order would lose business for the state, Landry said, “No. Why would we lose business? That’s ridiculous.”
19th Judicial District Court Judge Todd Hernandez will decide if it is legal to block Edwards' attempts to enforce the LGBT-rights protection order as requested by Landry.
Landry seems confident in his chances in the case.
“We believe we’re on solid legal footing,” Landry told KEEL.
Edwards has accused Landry of exceeding his authority in the matter and wants the judge to set parameters for Landry to follow going forward. The case could have far-reaching effects beyond the LGBT order, since Hernandez may also rule on what authority Landry has going forward as requested by Edwards.
A total of 15 Republican legislative representatives have joined Landry in his suit objecting that Edwards doesn’t have the authority to enact such an order, especially when LGBT bills have been shot down by the legislature on several occasions in the past.