Edwards says he's not rescinding anti-discrimination order

Ray Hunter
October 20, 2016

Louisiana's conservative Attorney General Jeff Landry can continue to refuse to approve state contracts that include LGBT non-discrimination provisions, a judge has ruled.

"I believe the law is uncertain, that it does not provide the court with a clear path", the Baton Rouge state district judge said.

Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, issued an executive order earlier this year that requires all state contracts to include language prohibiting discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

It is illegal for any Louisiana resident to get married in the state without the proof of lawful presence.

"We're not defeated on this issue", Richard Carbo, Governor Edwards' Communications Director, says.

Edwards filed a lawsuit after meeting with Landry, a Republican, on the issue.

Landry issued a statement applauding Johnson's ruling.

"The judge didn't pass any judgment at all on the governor's right to pursue this matter, the judge didn't make an argument about the executive order and how these contracts should or should not be written", Block said.

No contracts besides those for hiring outside lawyers were affected by the judge's decision.

Landry, who has described himself as a "campaigner for conservative family values", started blocking several new contracts the state signed with companies that included those protections. This was in no way a ruling on the merits of the executive order.

The governor said he and his lawyers will soon "announce a course of action" in response to the decision. "But he will not let this issue distract from the important issues facing our state today, nor will he allow state operations to be crippled by the injection of politics into the process of approving legal counsel".

In court, however, Landry lawyer's said the AG had the power to intervene because they said the governor's executive order was a power grab, creating a new protected class not defined in state law. "We intend to have a strategy within the next few days and we feel that the Attorney General is on the wrong side of history and common sense".

Landry has blocked more than 30 state contracts with outside lawyers because he objected to those LGBT protections. Offices overseen by other Republican statewide elected officials have seen contracts rejected as well, including agencies led by the secretary of state, insurance commissioner, agriculture commissioner and treasurer. Instead, he sided with Landry on a technicality, suggesting the attorney general has discretion in how his office reviews the legal contracts.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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