LOUISIANA: Court Rules That AG Can Block State Contracts Because They Include LGBT Protections

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

Attorney General Jeff Landry can reject dozens of state legal contracts because they include language preventing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — among other reasons, according to a Baton Rouge state court ruling Monday (Oct. 17).

Judge Donald Johnson, of the 19th Judicial District Court, determined Gov. John Bel Edwards does not have the right to sue Landry and force the attorney general to approve legal contracts with a LGBT nondiscrimination provision Landry finds objectionable.

The judge said state law is hazy about whether Landry or Edwards has the final word over legal contracts, which made granting the governor’s wishes for forcing the Landry’s hand on the contracts difficult.

“I believe that the law is uncertain — and it does not provide the court with a clear path,” Johnson said from the bench, adding: “The court denies the request of our governor.”

Landry has blocked between 40 and 50 state contracts with private law firms from moving forward mostly because they include language that prevents the attorneys from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in their offices — though his office says he has other concerns with the contracts as well.

The anti-discrimination language was only included in the legal contracts because Edwards has required all state agencies and contractors to prohibit harassment and firing based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”.

The governor issued an executive order last April mandating LGBT people be extended the same workplace protections that racial, ethnic and religious minorities are given under state law. Existing provisions also protect women and people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace already.

The governor’s office plans to either appeal the ruling or rework the language in the original lawsuit. In the meantime his executive order stands except for the contracts blocked so far.

RELATED: When Landry was a member of the US House he joined the Tea Party caucus and backed every wingnut policy imaginable.