NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has stated his intention to end the state's policy of prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and political beliefs in state employment and contracting. By doing so, he will strip lesbians and gay men from civil rights protections that have been in effect since 2004, and will also deprive state employees of protection on the basis of political beliefs. The ACLU of Louisiana calls on Gov. Bobby Jindal to protect the employment rights of Louisianians by renewing Executive Order 2004-54, signed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco.
Gov. Jindal has failed to protect state employees, and those who work for businesses that contract with the state, from discrimination based on political beliefs and their personal lives. This means that people living in relationships that an employer doesn't like - including lesbians and gay men, those living outside of traditional marriage, or living in any way that their supervisors don't agree with - can be fired for reasons unrelated to their jobs. People whose political views may differ from those of their supervisors are equally at risk.
ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director, Marjorie R. Esman, said: "Governor Jindal should be protecting those who work hard for the State of Louisiana. Employees should be judged by their performance rather than by their personal lives or their political beliefs. For Louisiana to move forward, we need the best employees possible, without regard to matters unrelated to their job performance. By declaring that discrimination based on sexual orientation is once again legal in Louisiana, Governor Jindal is sending a loud and clear message to lesbian and gay Louisianans that they need not apply to serve the state, regardless of their skills, experience or dedication. The same message goes to those who may not agree with their supervisors' political beliefs. That's a slap in the face to the many hardworking lesbian and gay state employees, and to all Louisianans, at a time when our state needs to attract the best and the brightest, not scare them away. "