Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order Wednesday protecting against perceived LGBT discrimination.
The order affords state employees protections “on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability or age.”
“We are fortunate enough to live in a state that is rich with diversity, and we are built on a foundation of unity and fairness for all of our citizens,” Gov. Edwards said in a statement. “We respect our fellow citizens for their beliefs, but we do not discriminate based on our disagreements… 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 respectful and inclusive of everyone around us.”
Edward’s order provides exemptions from the rule for churches and religious organizations and will reportedly not conflict with 2010’s “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” which Edwards supported.
Edwards also rescinded a marriage and conscience passed by his predecessor, Gov. Bobby Jindal, on the grounds that it “was meant to serve a narrow political agenda.”
“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,” he explained. “This executive order threatens Louisiana’s business growth, and it goes against everything we stand for– unity, acceptance, and opportunity for all.”