Are you ready?
The Forum For Equality has three important legislative bills this session and we need your support! Read over the information below and familiarize yourself with these issues.
1) Our anti-bullying bill, House Bill 112 by Rep. Austin Badon, will prohibit the harassment, intimidation and bullying of a student by another student in public elementary and secondary schools.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and their allies face verbal and physical bullying on a daily basis just for being who they are or for demonstrating non-normative gender identity. Louisiana law does not enumerate or detail a standard anti-bullying policy to which schools must adhere. This process is currently left to that of the individual schools or local school boards. The lack of compulsory policies allows for students to be victimized and targeted unfairly within our school systems.
We are seeking folks who can testify on behalf of this bill—students, parents, teachers and folks who can share their personal stories about the negative impact of bullying.
2) Our Second-parent adoption bill, House Bill 288 by Rep. Helena Moreno, would recognize two parents as legal guardians to a child or children originally adopted by a single person. Currently, Louisiana law does not permit a child to be adopted by a couple that is not married, no matter how long they have lived together. This is true of heterosexual couples and gay couples.
This is a policy that is inconsistent with the generally accepted concept that a second legally recognized parent can benefit a child’s welfare. Allowing an unmarried parent to have his/her committed partner or friend co-adopt the child is commonly known as second parent adoption.
We are looking for adoptive parents, social workers and other professionals who can testify on the harmful effects of Louisiana’s current adoptive policies.
3) Our Employment Non-Discrimination bill applies to state government employees. Senate Bill 211 by Senator J.P. Morrell will expand the enumerated policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Employment in the state is at-will, meaning an employer can hire and fire an employee for any reason not protected by federal and state laws, making it all that more important to cover LGBT employees of state government.
There are only a few places in the state that have passed local inclusive nondiscrimination policies including the City of Shreveport and New Orleans. In general, though, there is very little recourse for the vast majority of LGBT state employees who are unfairly denied employment or lose their jobs because of discrimination. All residents should be treated fairly and equally by the laws of our state.
We are seeking employees to testify about discrimination they have faced in the workplace, as well as state employers or retirees and non-governmental agencies to testify that discriminatory policies harm businesses by increasing turnover and reducing the competitiveness of Louisiana’s industries.
We will be sending periodic updates on each bill and information regarding committee meetings. Please share this to your co-workers, friends, neighbors and families – have them sign up for the Forum For Equality’s Action Alerts so they can stay informed about these issues as well
Forum For Equality
336 Lafayette Street, Suite 200
New Orleans, LA 70130