Gov. Edwards signs executive order against work place discrimination

Gov. Edwards signs executive order against work place discrimination
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - The Governor made good on one of his major campaign promises today, rescinding the "Marriage and Conscience Executive Order" and issuing his own "Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination" executive order.

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order today that protects state workers and contractors from being fired, discriminated against or harassed based on their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability or age.

Edwards said the executive order includes an exception for religious organizations who worry that this order would violate their religious beliefs. The Governor issued a statement saying it would not conflict with the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, passed in 2010.

"We respect our fellow citizens for their beliefs, but we do not discriminate based on our disagreements," Edwards said in a statement sent out April 13. "I believe in giving every Louisianan the opportunity to be successful and to thrive in our state. Our goal is to promote the opportunities we have right here in Louisiana. While this executive order respects the religious beliefs of our people, it also signals to the rest of the country that discrimination is not a Louisiana value, but rather, that Louisiana is a state that is respective and inclusive of everyone around us."

Along with issuing this executive order, Edwards also rescinded former Gov. Bobby Jindal's Marriage and Conscience Executive Order. The executive order was issued by Jindal after a similar bill was rejected by the Louisiana Legislature.

"The previous administration's executive I am rescinding was meant to serve a narrow political agenda, " Edwards said. "It does nothing but divide our state and forced the business community, from Louisiana's smallest businesses to large corporations, like IBM, to strongly oppose it. This executive order threatens Louisiana's business growth, and it goes against everything we stand for– unity, acceptance, and opportunity for all."

New Orleans and Shreveport already have similar municipal ordinances in effect for their local citizens.

There is currently no state law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender Louisianans from employment discrimination.

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