LGBT community advocates hope Baton Rouge passes anti-discrimination ordinance

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There are currently only two cities in Louisiana with laws preventing certain forms of workplace discrimination, but advocates for the LGBT community are waiting and hoping Baton Rouge will join the list.

Just last month, Shreveport passed an ordinance called 'Be Fair Shreveport,' which protects people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The other city that has passed a similar ordinance is New Orleans.

"People would not be able to be fired from their jobs in this city because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender," said Carrie Wooten with Capital City Alliance, a Baton Rouge LGBT advocacy group. "So, it's really important. It's a basic set of human rights protections to ensure that people have a quality of life they can be secure in here."

While Baton Rouge does not yet have a law in place, Wooten said it seems people in the city are ready for one. She added a recent poll taken by Capital City Alliance and several other advocacy groups got surprising results. About 89 percent to 92 percent of people in the Baton Rouge area are supportive of an ordinance protecting the LGBT community.

"The people of Louisiana and the people of Baton Rouge are extremely committed to the idea that people deserve to be treated fairly and with respect, that no one should be denied housing or evicted from their housing just because they're gay or transgender, that they shouldn't be fired from their job simply because of who they are," Wooten explained.

In New Orleans and Shreveport, the push was backed by major groups. For example, Shreveport's movie industry was very supportive.

A few years ago officials did attempt to pass a resolution called 'One Baton Rouge' that would have simply welcomed diverse groups of people to the city. This time, advocacy groups are hoping for a formal law, banning housing or employment discrimination against the gay community.

With the poll results and support from some members of the East Baton Rouge Metro Council, she believes an anti-discrimination ordinance could be presented for the city this year.

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