Louisiana Governor's LGBT Rights Order Thrown Out By Judge

Gerald Herbert

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An executive order issued by Louisiana's governor that was aimed at protecting the rights of LGBT people in state government was thrown out Wednesday by a judge who said the governor exceeded his authority.

State District Judge Todd Hernandez ruled that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' anti-discrimination order is unconstitutional because it seeks to create or expand state law. 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. Landry praised the ruling and said his challenge was aimed at "upholding the checks and balances on executive authority as established in our state constitution."

Edwards said his order, with an exception for contractors that are religious organizations, is a statement that Louisiana doesn't discriminate. Landry said it tried to establish a new protected class of people that doesn't exist in law and that lawmakers refused to add.

Hernandez agreed with Landry's interpretation, saying in his written ruling that the Edwards order was "an unlawful usurp of the constitutional authority vested only in the legislative branch of government."

Landry has blocked dozens of legal services contracts that contain the anti-discrimination language.

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