BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - - A judge has thrown out an executive order issued by Louisiana's governor that was aimed at protecting the rights of LGBT people in state government.
Judge Todd Hernandez ruled Wednesday that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' anti-discrimination order is unconstitutional. The order prohibited discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The decision delivered a significant victory to Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, who filed the lawsuit challenging the LGBT-rights order.
"It's important that we don't bring in the personalities or the feelings. We have to apply the law based upon that, and I think sometimes the media has a tendency to over exaggerate that," Landry said. "We get lost in what was at issue rather than at the core of the question and answer that we are looking for is and I think the judge did a great job of laying that out."
Edwards said his order, with an exception for contractors that are religious organizations, is a statement that Louisiana doesn't discriminate.
The governor released a statement saying, "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. We respect the trial court's decision and will abide by it while we vigorously pursue an appeal."
Landry said the executive order tries to establish a new protected class of people that doesn't exist in law and that lawmakers refused to add.
Landry has blocked dozens of legal services contracts that contain the anti-discrimination language.