Louisiana's Supreme Court on Friday
refused to hear an appeal by Governor John Bel Edwards, leaving
intact a lower court ruling striking down his executive order
protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state
While Chief Justice Bernette Johnson
was joined by three justices in calling the order a “rational
policy choice,” four justices refused to hear arguments in the case
Edwards' order, issued in April 2016,
prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and
gender identity among state agencies and contractors doing business
with the state. Religious organizations are exempt.
Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry
challenged Edwards' order, saying that he had exceeded his authority
in issuing it.
A state district judge and a state
appeal court sided with Landry.
The Democratic governor called the
ruling “disappointing” in a statement.
"While I accept the court’s
ruling today, I am disappointed in their decision,” Edwards said.
“That disappointment is only overshadowed by my frustration that
the courts believe that discrimination is something we should
tolerate in Louisiana. I, for one, do not think discrimination of any
kind has a place in our society, much less the workplace.”
“More importantly, Louisiana’s
diversity is what makes it the greatest state in the union.
Unfortunately, this puts us on the wrong side of history. As the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court noted in her dissent, this was not
‘some novel exercise of executive power.’ This executive order,
as the Chief Justice also notes, ‘mirrors’ executive orders from
previous administrations, as well as anti-discrimination policies
currently in place at our universities. Equality for all Louisianans
is a right. It is not a political football to be used by politicians,
and I intend to continue fighting to make Louisiana more inclusive
because at the end of the day, that’s what is best for our state,
best for business, and simply the right thing to do,” he added.