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Louisiana Attorney General Blocks LGBTQ Employment Protection

November 30th, 2016


A gay rainbow flag on a flagpole

Now that gay marriage is legalized nationwide, the next big battle is likely to be employment protections for LGBTQ individuals.

The Attorney General of Louisiana has blocked at least 37 state government legal contracts because these documents include language designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace. In rejecting these contracts guaranteeing LGBTQ employment protection, the Attorney General argues that these contracts cannot require language protecting LGBTQ people because these individuals are not protected under the state law of Louisiana. This event is of great significant because now that same-sex marriage has been made legal throughout the country, employment discrimination for LGBTQ individuals is likely to become the next hotly debated field.

How Others Have Responded

Louisiana’s Governor responded to the Attorney General’s action by initiating a lawsuit against the Attorney General for blocking the contracts. This lawsuit claims that the Attorney General overstepped boundaries and was only supposed to ensure that lawyers involved in contracts are considered qualified for the work but not take other elements into consideration. The Attorney General is also blocking contracts for other reasons as well, but LGBTQ related issues have been the most common reason. While the Attorney General recently won this lawsuit, the Governor’s legal team has now announced an intention to appeal.

The Power of Anti-Discrimination LGBTQ Clauses

The Attorney General’s actions come soon after an executive order was recently issued that states the federal government and companies who contract with the federal government cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In April of 2016, the state of Louisiana’s Governor signed an executive order banning state agencies from discrimination against LGBTQ individuals earlier this year. This executive order protects state employees against discrimination based on criteria including sexual orientation and gender identity. Executive orders have a similar force of law in a similar way to legislation.

The Role of Anti-Discrimination LGBTQ Contracts

52% of the LGTBQ community lives in a state that has no prohibition against firing an employee on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As a result of these laws, LGBTQ individuals can face a variety of discrimination. This discrimination can include termination from a position, failure to hire or promote an employee, workplace harassment, and even unequal pay.  A few additional states protect against sexual orientation discrimination, but not discrimination based on gender identity. A minority of states have laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

The Aims of Universal Life Church

Less than one third of all states in the United States have laws protecting individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and only a handful of laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of an individual’s gender identity. As a result of the absence of these protections, individuals in the United States are at risk of experiencing discrimination in a variety of settings. On the Universal Life Church blog, we aim to keep individuals updated about the most recent news regarding LGBTQ rights. While issues surrounding this constantly evolving field can be quite complex at times, this blog aims to explains issues in an easily understandable way.

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