Baton Rouge Appeals Court Hears Oral Argument on Gov. Edwards’ LGBT-Rights Order

A three-judge panel at the Louisiana Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard oral argument on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, on whether Governor John Bel Edwards’ April 2016 executive order to protect the rights of the LGBT community in state government was beyond the scope of his constitutionally-authorized powers.

Governor Edwards’ order seeks to ban discrimination in state government based on gender identity and sexual orientation. In December 2016, in response to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Jeff Landry, District Court Judge Todd Hernandez ruled that Governor Edwards’ order violated Louisiana’s constitutional separation of powers. Specifically, Judge Hernandez ruled that Governor Edwards’ order unconstitutionally sought to create state law and tried to skirt Louisiana lawmakers who have opposed writing such protections into statute.

Governor Edwards’ camp claims, however, that Governor Edwards has absolute authority to implement contact terms for the executive branch of government and that his order is no different than the directives previously issued by former Louisiana governors.

The three-judge panel has not yet issued a decision.

Megan T. Jaynes