BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A battle over LGBT rights in Louisiana continues to play out in a courtroom with a democrat governor on one side and a republican attorney general on the other.
The fight is over state legal contracts and a particular anti-discrimination clause that Gov. John Bel Edwards approved as a way of protecting the LGBT community. To date, however, attorney general Jeff Landry has blocked the clause from being included in more than 30 contracts.
"It is baffling, though not surprising, that the attorney general continues to put his own political interests ahead of the needs of our state," said Gov. Edwards. "He maintains only businesses that reserve the right to discriminate are eligible for a state contract, and that's just wrong.
Gov. Edwards responded to Landry by filing a lawsuit. On Monday, October 17, Judge Donald Johnson ruled that Gov. Edwards was attempting to use a legal approach that was not viable.
"The judge didn't pass any judgment at all on the governor's right to pursue this matter, the judge didn't make an argument about the executive order and how these contracts should or should not be written," explained Matthew Block, executive counsel for the governor.
He added that Edwards could appeal the decision or possibly pursue a different remedy.
AG Landry responded by petitioning the state court to block the executive order, stating that the clause is unconstitutional.
"Following Judge Johnson's dismissal of Governor Edwards' challenge to my legal authority, the Governor continues to violate his duty to faithfully execute the laws by legislating through executive fiat. Today [Thursday, October 20], I filed a petition so the court may decide if the Governor can circumvent the Legislature to create his own law," Landry explained.
Gov. Edwards, however, has refused to rescind the order.
"New opportunities arise for our state every day because we will not discriminate, including having the 2017 NBA All-Star Game relocate to New Orleans," he said. "It's politics like the attorney general's that drove businesses away from North Carolina. If he continues to put his own political career ahead of the best interest of the citizens of Louisiana, he will do irreparable harm to our state."
Gov. Edwards added that his team is still reviewing the lawsuit.