Attorney General Jeff Landry’s cynical legal moves

By Robert Mann

In 2015, a transgender man from Lake Charles filed a federal sex discrimination suit, alleging the financial services company he worked for fired him after he refused his boss’ order to dress as a female. While the court has not decided his case, this man is only one of more than 80,000 LGBT individuals in Louisiana exposed to potential workplace discrimination for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

That’s because it’s legal in most of Louisiana to fire a worker for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. That’s a disgrace, compounded by Congress’ refusal to pass national workplace protections for LGBT individuals.

Many states are better — almost half have such protections — but Louisiana is not among them. Seven Louisiana locales, including New Orleans and Shreveport, have antidiscrimination laws (as do some companies), but 87 percent of Louisiana’s LGBT individuals enjoy no workplace protections, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law.

Congress will eventually outlaw employment discrimination against LGBT individuals because Americans are decent people and will demand fairness in this arena.  And Louisiana will one day enter the 21st Century, too. The only question is how we will do it — on our terms or after we have further damaged the state’s reputation?

Louisiana’s new Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry, is doing everything he can to postpone this new century. Landry is trashing the state’s already frayed reputation with an ugly crusade against Gov. John Bel Edwards’ April executive order granting protections for LGBT individuals who are state employees or who work for companies with state contracts.

Landry is blocking several dozen state contracts that contained the non-discrimination language, charging that Edwards exceeded his authority when he included the language on contracts. Edwards sued, arguing that Landry’s actions are an abuse of power and an effort to usurp the governor’s authority in setting state policy. On Monday (Oct. 17), a state court judge sided with Landry on narrow procedural grounds.

Edwards is expected to appeal or file a new suit. Before he could do so, however, Landry took the fight to a new level on Thursday, suing Edwards to negate his executive order.

Whatever the outcome of the legal fight, Landry appears eager to stoke fear of LGBT individuals to get ahead (presumably to the governor’s office in 2019). Some might say Landry is defending the state’s Constitution. In fact, he is disregarding the animating spirit of the Constitution. The document’s Declaration of Rights under the section, “Right to Individual Dignity,” says, No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

Tragically, LGBT people are missing from a long list of those our state Constitution dignifies. They are unequal and unprotected in Louisiana employment law. To his credit, Edwards wants to eliminate discrimination where he can, starting with companies that have state contracts.

Landry’s attack on Edwards’ executive order strikes me as cynical pandering to the religious right. It’s unseemly, an abuse of his power and unworthy of a man who proclaims his Christianity. There is nothing Christ-like in making it easier for people to lose their jobs because of their God-given sexual orientation or gender.

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9 Responses to Attorney General Jeff Landry’s cynical legal moves

  1. Edith Herring says:

    I am so tired of this. When did evangelicals or conservative Christians or whatever they call themselves decide to ignore one of the main reasons they are “saved”? If they believe they are saved to reconcile the lost to God, how do they attempt this through their hate.? This hate permeates our culture, divides us and harms the objects of their hate. The preachers that teach this hate are false prophets and we are warned against them. However, for me, this is not a religious matter…it is the guaranteeing of all civil rights to all citizens. Period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephen Winham says:

      Amen, Edith!


    • Eileen Baca says:

      Edith–I have an even bigger question: whatever happened to SEPARATION of church and state? How did we allow these Republicans, lying preachers, and FOX Lies to overcome our politics with their religion? I love Louisiana but my god–will these people ever wake up?


  2. Stephen Winham says:

    Trump will carry Louisiana. No further explanation for Landry’s posturing is necessary.


  3. Edith Herring says:

    Interestingly, my coffee group of older white Republican women (except yours truly) are very, very quiet about Trump. They are not please with him and cannot vote for either him or Hillary. Their hatred of her is steadfast and unmovable. So, why have they not transferred their disdain of Trump to those local candidates that still support him? I did notice that they have all successfully pivoted to the new talking point focus of the appointment of the Supreme Court. This explains it. The Republicans will refuse to approve ANY appointee submitted by Hillary Clinton, thereby, saving America. So, they have to keep the Republican Congress. Crafty devils, aren’t they? This is what the host of the Shreveport debate watch party said immediately afterwards. They really, really believe this. I just don’t know. Democrats just don’t do brainwashing very well. But, then it is difficult to bend my mind. Maybe other Democrats are free thinkers, too.


    • earthmother says:

      Edith, you are so right about Democrats doing a poor job on the influence (brainwashing) front. As a communications/public relations professional, I have long been dismayed by the well-funded, highly effective right wing propaganda machine. I have to give the cons credit there, for identifying their target audiences and crafting messages directly to those people that not only resonate, but convince. We have to do a better job in that area.

      President Obama’s 50+ approval rate at the end of his term is proof positive that the right wing message is off base. But, but, but, try convincing your and my older white, Louisiana friends……and we get nowhere fast.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stephen Winham says:

        I wish I was more confident we could. In my experience, people with moderate to liberal views put forth reasonable arguments supported by facts. When conservatives are unable to offer effective counter-arguments, they simply resort to name-calling and retain their views.


  4. June Butler says:

    If Jeff thinks his shenanigans in obstructing Gov. Edwards will earn my vote when he runs for the senate, which he’s been doing ever since he took office, he’s sadly mistaken. While he spends his time obstructing, he’s not doing his job. Doesn’t he know how many organizations and businesses avoid states that do not protect all citizens from discrimination? He governs in the usual way of Republicans – by obstruction.


  5. June Butler says:

    Correction: When he runs for governor.


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