We can STILL be fired in Louisiana

Earlier this session, Rep. Joe Bouie introduced the Louisiana Employment Non-Discrimination Act (LENDA). This important legislation (HB 302) would have included employment protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Unfortunately, the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee voted 9-5 to involuntarily defer LENDA – HB 302. It is so shocking that Representatives still believe it is okay for state law to lack the protections for hardworking individuals simply because they are gay or transgender.

Let us take a moment to send our appreciation and gratitude to Rep. Joe Bouie for his hard work and authorship of LENDA – HB 302 this legislative session. It is because of legislators such as him that we continue to push the Pelican State forward. Send him a thank you note here.

The LGBT community wants to be judged based on performance and qualifications  — nothing more, nothing less. Louisiana’s state motto is “Union, Justice and Confidence” – this should mean a place where people know that the State values them and their hard work, period.

We will continue to fight for fairness, and to build a better life and a better Louisiana, together.

With Equality,

SarahJane Guidry
Executive Director, Forum for Equality

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FFE Executive Director’s Remarks on LENDA

 

Sarah Jane Guidry, Forum for Equality’s Executive Director, testified before the House Labor and Industrial Relations committee in support of HB 3012 – the Louisiana Employment Non-discrimination Act. Here are her remarks:

Thank you Representatives for the opportunity to address you this morning. I’m SarahJane Guidry, Executive Director of Forum for Equality. Forum for Equality is Louisiana’s LGBT human rights organization dedicated to the establishment of a society free from discrimination and to the support of good government.

We put before you this morning the Louisiana Employment Non-Discrimination Act – HB 302 authored by Rep. Joe Bouie. This important piece of legislation will include employment protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

This is not an issue new to our legislature. In fact, this bill was first introduced in 1993, and authored by Sen. Troy Carter and Rep. Marc Morial. Many things have changed over the past 26 years. Most importantly, hearts and minds.

Last year, Project Right Side conducted a survey across Louisiana. The findings are interesting:

  • 6 out of 10 Louisiana voters (60%) think it’s illegal under state law to fire, refuse to hire, deny housing or public accommodations access to someone because they are gay or transgender. Majorities across party lines think it’s currently illegal under state law (Republicans 66%, Democrats 58%, Independents 55%).
  • Similarly, sixty-six percent (66%) favor protections for gay and transgender Louisianans in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. Voters across all major geographic areas support new protections: Alexanderia (60%), Baton Rouge (70%), Lafayette (55%), Lake Charles (61%), Monroe (61%), New Orleans (72%) and Shreveport (63%).

In the past 26 years, since we first introduced this legislation, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Alexandria have expanded protections for the LGBT community. Lafayette and Jefferson parishes with Baton Rouge have expanded their protections to include LGBT city-parish employees. And, Governor Edwards signed an executive order to expand protections to LGBT state workers and contractors.

We have seen the vast majority (91 percent) of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and over three- fourths (83 percent) prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, compared to just three in 2000.

After all this time and despite all this progress, we still lack protections for all LGBT Louisianans. Louisianans are proud people. We stay put. We love our state and towns that we call home. There is no reason that a gay person from Bunkie or transgender person from Farmerville should be denied protections from discrimination. We are all created equal, and the time has come for Louisiana law to be expanded and updated to reflect all its citizens.

All people should be treated fairly and equally. That is why it is so shocking that it is still legal under state law to fire, demote, or even determine compensation of hardworking individuals simply because they are gay or transgender.

The LGBT community wants to be judged based on performance and qualifications  — nothing more, nothing less.

Louisiana’s state motto is “Union, Justice and Confidence” – this should mean a place where people know that the State values them and their hard work, period. Updating our non-discrimination laws to include the LGBT community would help ensure a fair opportunity to earn a living, meet our obligations, provide for ourselves and our families.

We all sit here today to help Louisiana be the best version of itself. And that means a home where people know that the State values and protects them. Help me build a better life and a better Louisiana, together, by voting in favor of HB 302.

 

Despite a room full of support, the House Labor and Industrial Relations committee voted 9-5 to involuntary defer HB 302 – Louisiana Employment Non-Discrimination Act by Rep. Dr. Joe Bouie. Unfortunately, this means that there will be no further action take on HB 302 this session.

 

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The Session Has Begun

The 2019 Legislative Session has begun. Let’s get started!

Rep. Joseph Bouie, Jr. has introduced the Louisiana Employment Non-discrimination Act (LENDA – HB 302) to the House of Representatives. LENDA seeks to update current employment nondiscrimination laws with protections for the LGBTQ community for the entire Pelican State.

Here’s how you can help. Tell your State Representative that you support HB 302, so that no Louisianan can be discriminated against based on who they are or whom they love. Click here to send them an email.

And, if you are out and about in the New Orleans area this Thursday, April 11, join us for our Spring Social! We will be at Bayou Wine Garden from 6:00 – 8:00PM to meet new faces, catch up with old friends, and chat about the legislative session. Share this with your friends, family and co-workers, we hope to see all y’all there.

With Equality, 

SarahJane Guidry, Executive Director
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Urgent: Act now to protect children in Orleans Parish

Tomorrow evening (Thursday, 1/17), the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) is scheduled to elect a new President.

Current OPSB Vice-President Leslie Ellison is actively lobbying to assume this public-facing role, and along with it, the enormous responsibility to ensure a robust and inclusive education for our children. Unfortunately, Ms. Ellison has a well-documented history of bias against the LGBTQ+ community.

Ms. Ellison is on the record:

This is not a case of a public official “evolving” on our issues after bigoted remarks in the past. Just this week, after the Forum and many other leaders from our community engaged with Ms. Ellison, she pointedly declined to retract or even reflect upon her past statements. Make no mistake – these are her current and sincerely-held views.

Write to OPSB members!

While we have made a significant amount of progress in recent years, there is much work to be done. It is genuinely shocking when someone with Ms. Ellison’s record of public anti-LGBT advocacy reaches high office in our City/Parish.

We must be clear that anyone who supports Ms. Ellison for President of OPSB believes that a career of vocal support for anti-LGBT discrimination is not disqualifying for a purported educational leader – and they will be held accountable. Period.

Not only do we need to protect all children in New Orleans from bullying and discrimination, but we also need to protect them from Ms. Ellison and those who agree with her. Please take action now by telling OPSB members to oppose Ms. Ellison’s candidacy for Orleans Parish School Board President.

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Need to know you’re with us

We’ll accomplish great things in 2019 if we do it together. Are you with us?

Every now and then, progress seems to come all-at-once like a giant burst of wind. Often however, progress is made little-by-little, brick-by-brick, phone call-by-phone call. Either way, we’ve got the experience, gumption, patience, and resolve for every fight. And we’ll win. Sure, there will be challenges along the way, but we’re in it for the long haul – and there’s no way we can lose if we’re united.

We’re looking to enter 2019 with momentum. The more people we have by our side, the more momentum we’ve got. Will you make a gift today to let us know you’re with us?

I'm With You!

2018 was an exciting year for us and our allies across Louisiana. We partnered with Louisiana Trans Advocates to host an HIV policy summit in Baton Rouge and enjoyed a legislative session with zero bad bills and a victory for the Louisiana Nondiscrimination Act at the committee level. In New Orleans, we honored Governor John Bel Edwards for his continued support of Louisiana’s LGBTQ community and hosted the 2018 Equality Federation Leadership Conference with state and national leaders in the fight for equality.

We look forward to building on our progress with you in 2019. Please make a gift today to propel us into the new year! Your donation supports our education, advocacy, organizing, and communications efforts.

Happy New Year, and thank you for your support!

For Equality,

SarahJane Guidry

Executive Director, Forum for Equality

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Give Where You Live, Louisiana!

Today is #GivingTuesday! #GivingTuesday has become a global movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy during the holiday season. How are you supporting Forum for Equality and our community on this global day of giving? We have so many ways that you can get involved and help give where you live!

  1. Make a donation that will support the work of making Louisiana a more fair and just place to call home! Just for today, if you donate at least $25, you’ll become a FFE member for 2019.
  2. Give a gift of at least $25 today, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a gift certificate to one of these great spots: Audubon Nature Institute, New Orleans Boulder Lounge, City Segway Tours, or Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
  3. Help spread the word about how people can participate in #GivingTuesday by supporting Forum for Equality. Forward this email to your friends and family and tell them about Forum for Equality and the communities you support.
  4. Stay updated on Forum for Equality news and events by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and joining our email list.

We know that equality begins at home. Who else besides us Louisianans are going to make this happen? We need each other, and Forum for Equality needs you this #GivingTuesday. WE cannot do this without you!

Forward Together,

SarahJane Guidry
Executive Director, Forum for Equality

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FFE Endorsements for the November 6 2018 Election

At the Forum for Equality PAC membership endorsement meeting, our members voted to make the following endorsements in the upcoming statewide elections as well as in key races in Alexandria and Orleans Parish. Forum for Equality PAC interviews candidates and our membership votes to support those who are committed to advancing equality and good government. Please support and vote for the following candidates in the November 6th election:

Statewide Races

US Rep 2nd Congressional – Cedric Richmond

US Rep, 6th Congressional District Race – Justin Dewitt

New Orleans

Judge, Civil District Court, Division E – Richard Perque

Clerk, Civil District Court – Jared Brossett

Clerk, 1st City Court – Austin Badon

Alexandria

Mayor – Catherine Davidson

To read the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana’s guide to the constitutional amendments, please follow this LINK.

Find important election information here – GeauxVote.com

If you are interested in becoming involved in Forum for Equality and our endorsement process, please become a member today. If you have questions regarding our endorsements, please contact Kenny Tucker, FFE PAC Chair, kenny.tucker@forumforequality.org.

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