I was checking my email yesterday afternoon and saw one from the Louisiana Family Forum stating that there was “manufactured outrage” over the religious freedom bill that Gov. Mike Pence signed into Indiana law last week. As many of you have been, we are watching the situation closely and wanted to clarify a few things regarding this “manufactured outrage.”
Louisiana does have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that passed in 2010, and while Forum for Equality opposed that legislation then, it was in a different context to what we are seeing unfold in Indiana and states across that country. Today, RFRA is being used as a tool to try to allow discrimination against gay and transgender people, among others.
We need to re-examine the Louisiana RFRA, but most importantly it is essential that we update the laws to include non-discrimination protections, including those for gay and transgender people. We need to ensure that no one is fired from their job, denied housing, denied benefits or turned away from a business just because of who they are or who they love.
Rep. Austin Badon will reintroduce the Louisiana Non-discrimination Act this legislative session that will update over sixty current non-discrimination statute provisions to better protect our most vulnerable citizens, including the LGBT community, from unlawful discriminatory practices in the fields of employment, housing, education, finance and public accommodations. And you can support Rep. Badon and our fight this session by attending a Thank You Reception being held in his honor this evening in New Orleans.
This is an essential step in protecting ALL Louisianans, including the LGBT community! We are working hard this legislative session to protect our community, both by working to update our laws and protecting us from harmful laws that create a license to discriminate. You can support the work of the Forum for Equality team by donating today!
SarahJane E. Brady
Executive Director, Forum for Equality