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Governor-elect promises to issue an executive order protecting LGBT state employees

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards.
Richard David Ramsey
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards.

Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards announced earlier this month an executive order he’ll issue once in office, that will protect LGBT state and government employees from being fired based on sexual orientation. An executive order issued by current Governor Bobby Jindal, which protects the right to not recognize gay marriage, was largely seen as a negative for business.

The new executive order strays from current policy, under which LGBT employees’ positions are not protected under the Marriage and Conscience Act issued in May. This didn’t just ruffle the feathers of human rights advocates. It angered the tourism industry.

Stephen Perry is the President and CEO New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. Earlier this year, Perry referred toJindal’slegislation as "radioactive"and said it would leave to a loss of millions of dollars in state tax revenue. "The large global corporations that come here to meet, they want to come to places that have a progressive environment and do not discriminate," Perry declared.

The new executive order issued by John Bel Edwards, Perry says, will have a positive effect on economic development.

"The approach that Governor-elect Edwards will take in office will be a tremendous boom to our billion-dollar convention and meetings business," he says. "It will be something that, frankly, will benefit all of the employees in our industry, as well as all the citizens here in Louisiana who share his philosophy."

After Jindal's order, IBM spoke out against the move, and canceled a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The company declined to comment on Edwards' order for this story. 

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