Senate rejects anti-discrimination measure

Published: May. 21, 2014 at 2:35 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Any change to the current Louisiana Anti-discrimination law will have to wait at least a year after a measure that would have added sexual orientation, gender expression, and age to the statute was voted down Tuesday in the Senate.

"It's an embarrassment to Louisiana. It's a black eye," said Baton Rouge businessman Joe Traigle.

Traigle often speaks publicly on behalf of the gay and lesbian community and says a refusal to add things like sexual preference to the state's anti-discrimination statute is a setback to equal rights, along with an insult to global companies who have chosen to relocate to Louisiana.

"The Louisiana legislature said to IBM and every other job bringer potentially, we don't care. We don't believe in equality. We want to be number 50 on the list of states and we're not going to change our attitude," said Traigle.

Senator Dan Claitor of Baton Rouge and other members of the Senate Judiciary A Committee voted the bill authored by Senator Ed Murray down by a count of four to one. Claitor says for him the language was too encompassing.

"Maybe you feel one way about age, maybe a different way about disability, another way about sexual orientation, or perhaps a different way on gender identity in that it doesn't dial it down on the issue in a specific way," said Claitor.

Traigle disagrees saying recent polls show the majority of Louisiana voters support including all groups in equal rights measures and adds until those voters put pressure on lawmakers, nothing will change.

"We don't have leaders. We have caretakers and panderers in public office and the cycle just goes on and on until the good people of the city and state of Louisiana stand up and say enough, enough. We've got to break this cycle of the past," said Traigle.

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