Ugh. 2016 just got a little worse.
A bitter legal battle between Louisiana’s pro-gay, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and the state’s anti-gay, Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry has been festering for months. Now, thanks to one conservative judge in Baton Rouge, it’s over. And it doesn’t bode well for LGBTQ people.
To make a long and complicated story short: At the start of his term earlier this year, Gov. Edwards issued an executive order protecting LGBTQ people working in state government from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientations and/or gender identities.
Landry, who just so happens to have a gay brother, didn’t like that very much. He said the governor had overstepped his bounds by imposing the LGBTQ workplace protections when state lawmakers had already voted against a similar law several times in the past.
A months-long legal battle ensured. Finally this morning, Judge Todd Hernandez ruled in favor of Landry, saying Gov. Edwards had exceeded his constitutional authority.
“The effect of [the executive order’s] adoption and implementation, creates new and/or expands upon existing Louisiana law as opposed to directing the faithful execution of the existing law of this state,” Judge Todd Hernandez wrote in his ruling, before throwing out the case.
During his final argument, Landry said he didn’t mind offering protections to gay, lesbian, and bisexual government employees. It was transgender ones he felt uneasy about, once again bringing up the tired, old public bathroom debate–Which bathrooms would they use in government buildings? And how would bathroom use be enforced?!
After the ruling, Gov. Edwards issued a statement saying he was discouraged but still committed to fighting for the rights of LGBTQ Louisianians and visitors.
“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling today,” he said. “However, we fully intend to appeal this issue, which is how the parties knew that this matter would ultimately be resolved.”
He added: “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.”