John Bel Edwards
The governor has said, “discrimination is not a Louisiana value.”

Following weeks of anti-LGBT legislation being passed in states around the US, Louisiana’s Democratic governor John Bel Edwards has signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBT individuals.

The governor has said, “discrimination is not a Louisiana value.”

The executive order also protects the state’s citizens from discrimination based on race, religion, disability, or age. While it bans state agencies from discriminatory practices, it does offer exemptions to churches and other religious organisations.

Governor Edwards said that he was signing the order because “discrimination is not a Louisiana value.”

“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,” he said. “We respect our fellow citizens for their beliefs, but we do not discriminate based on our disagreements.”

In signing, Edwards’ order rescinded one previously signed by his predecessor, Bobby Jindal.

Edwards said, “The previous administration’s executive [order] I am rescinding was meant to serve a narrow political agenda. It does nothing but divides our state and force the business community, from Louisiana’s smallest businesses to large corporations like IBM, to strongly oppose it. This executive order threatens Louisiana’s business growth, and it goes against everything we stand for—unity, acceptance, and opportunity for all.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana released a statement saying, “This order is the first time Louisiana has explicitly recognised the equal rights of transgender people and is a strong stand against bigotry.”

When speaking about the step toward equality this action represents, the executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie Esman said, “Even apart from that, the idea that the state of Louisiana has recognised that equal means equal and that employment within the state and government services must be equally available to everybody just make Louisiana a better place.”