HRC Blog

Archaic Louisiana Legislation Poised to Codify Discrimination into Law

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

HRC is joining the Forum For Equality Louisiana in calling on Louisiana State Senator A.G. Crowe to withdraw SB 217, a discriminatory measure that would force state agencies and local governments to write discrimination into public contracts by setting limiting protected classes to just race, religion, national ancestry, age, sex, or disability. The bill’s passage would mean entities entering into public contracts with government bodies - including charter schools - could discriminate based on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and even on things like athletic ability, language competency, or political beliefs.  

The bill also throws into question Louisiana’s long-standing tradition of Home Rule Charter, in which the state law cannot limit or supersede that of local municipalities. SB 217 essentially codifies discrimination into public contracts by restricting the classes of citizens that can be protected to race, religion, national ancestry, age, sex, or disability.

In the video below, Sen.Ed Murray questions LSU Law professor Randy Trahan in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. At the 3:00 mark, Sen. Murray asks: "Do you think that [charter schools] should be able to discriminate based on sexual orientation?"

Trahan answers, "Yes, I think they should."

In this second video, Milestone-Sabis Charter School Board President Leslie Ellison cites her personal religious views as reason for her past refusal to sign her school's contract with the Louisiana Department of Education.  She objected to the phrase "sexual orientation" in the contract's nondiscrimination clause.

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