La. Governor allows anti-discrimination law to expire

Fri. August 22, 2008 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal seen as rising star in Republican party

New Orleans, LA - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will not reissue an executive order that bans discriminating against gays and lesbians in the workplace. The order, which the Republican governor has criticized over the years, is set to expire Friday.

"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," Jindal said.

The executive order signed by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco in December 2004 bars state agencies and contractors from harassment and discrimination on the basis race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation or disabilities.

Jindal has said he will refuse to renew the order, in part, out of fear that it would hinder faith-based organizations' ability to contract with the state.

Some labor law attorneys warn that letting the order expire could leave gays and lesbians unprotected in the workplace and potentially allow the outright firing of people who are homosexual.

The 37-year-old Indo-American is rising fast in the Republican Party and has been mentioned as a potential running mate for presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. Jindal is scheduled to speak at next month's Republican National Convention in New Orleans.

"Allowing Louisiana's anti-discrimination order to expire would mean the end of any legal protection for gay citizens in the state," said PFLAG executive director Jody M. Huckaby, a native of the state. "By not renewing this critically important measure, Governor Jindal would remove the welcome mat from Louisiana's front door. It is imperative, and urgent, that the Governor not allow the state's commitment to non-discrimination to expire."