Over the past two days we have closely monitored several bills that affect our community and successfully supported amendments to limit their potential negative impact.
Last night Rep. Mike Johnson’s amended “Pastor Protection Act” (HB 597) was passed in the House of Representatives with language strictly limiting its scope to religious leaders and organizations only. Forum for Equality believes the Pastor Protection Act is an unnecessary and redundant bill and would only serve to stigmatize the LGBT community rather than actually provide new protections for religious leaders. But, as amended, the bill poses much less of a threat to our community’s rights. HB 597 now heads to the Senate with a vote of 80-18.
This evening, Sen. JP Morrell successfully offered an amendment to Sen. Conrad Appel’s “Preemption Bill” (SB 288) ensuring that the proposed local contracting restrictions will not affect or compromise any ordinance requiring a contractor to have policies related to discrimination. Forum for Equality remains dedicated to passing inclusive local ordinances, like those in New Orleans and Shreveport, which include policies mandating that taxpayer-funded contracts do not allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SB 288 now heads to the House of Representatives with a vote of 26-11.
We continue to guard against any backdoor efforts to add discrimination into our laws. We ask you to continue working with us towards our goal of protecting and treating all Louisianans fairly, equally and with the legal dignity and respect they deserve.
Executive Director, Forum for Equality