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August 21, 2008

Louisiana Govenor Refuses To Renew Job Discrimination Protections

The newly elected Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, has said that he will not renew the non-discrimination order that protects gays and lesbians in the workplace.

This would effectively take away employment protections that have been in effect since ex-Governor Kathleen Blanco issued her executive order in December 2004. The order, which some church groups and Jindal have criticized over the years, is set to expire Friday.

According to a Advocate Capitol News Bureau story, Jindal said:

“We are not going to renew it and that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. The reason for allowing the order to lapse is that I don’t think it is necessary to create additional special categories or special rights. State and federal law already prohibits discrimination. We are firmly and strongly committed to fair treatment of all of our people and certainly don’t condone discrimination in any form.”

How incredibly hypocritical is that? Apparently he thinks that discrimination against the GLBT community isn't really discrimination.

According to Randy Evans, a New Orleans lawyer who is co-political director of Forum for Equality, a New Orleans-based political action committee for the lesbian and gay community in Louisiana, Jindal’s decision means “it is perfectly legal to fire anyone based on their sexual orientation even if they are a perfect employee.”

What a shame for the state of Louisiana. Jindal is moving his state backwards to appease his right wing religious supporters who can now discriminate without threat of legal action when they take state money for "faith-based" programs. He is also tarnishing the state's image of "Everyone Welcome" which is the official motto that appears in all of their promotional materials and road signs.

Considering that 90% of all Fortune 500 companies now officially endorse non-discrimination policies for lesbians and gays, it is also very possible that this could cost Louisiana jobs.

This is something that several companies have said was a major part of their decision to move or open new operations here in Arizona. In fact, to take it one stop further, the anti-gay marriage amendment proposed for the November ballot here is why some companies and corporate business scouts are either delaying decisions to open shop here or are just outright deciding against it.

In 1990, Arizona voters defeated two Martin Luther King holiday propositions. It wasn't until 1992 that the holiday was finally passed after mega-star concerts and business conventions were canceled and the NFL threatened to pull the 1993 Super Bowl out of Arizona.

Now granted, this may not seem to have the same magnitude of potential reaction that the MLK holiday had. But today, more and more of the business, entertainment and general populace are recognizing that discrimination against the GLBT community is not only morally wrong but it can be costly to their interests as well.

If the national Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) isn't passed soon, I really believe that it's only a matter of time before the same of kind of reactions start happening in states around the country. People are getting tired of the same shrill, anti-gay rantings of extremists over and over again. They're beginning to know better.

To read the full story, go to: 2theadvocate.com