Human Rights Campaign Condemns Louisiana Lawmakers for Unprecedented Revival of Don’t Say Gay or Trans Bill

by Delphine Luneau

Baton Rouge – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the Louisiana House’s shocking motion to revive Don’t Say Gay or Trans legislation, ignoring the House Education Committee’s decision to reject the bill last week.

HB 837 is a discriminatory attack against the LGBTQ+ community that bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-8. After a bipartisan 7-4 vote against HB 387 in the House Education committee, Rep. Raymond Crews called for a vote to advance the bill to the full House floor. House lawmakers voted 55-39 to override the committee’s decision.

This is a rare and desperate political move that news reports suggest hasn’t been utilized in nearly 20 years. If enacted, HB 837 would further isolate and stigmatize both LGBTQ+ students and students with LGBTQ+ families. Recently, a study by the Trevor Project found that 94% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health. 42% of LGBTQ+ youth also seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

Louisiana politicians are not only blatantly ignoring the dangerous repercussions of anti-LGBTQ+ bills like this have, they are willing to override legal proceedings and dismiss their committee’s decisions.

Several Republicans voted against the motion, including Barbara Freiberg (R-Baton Rouge), Stephanie Hilferty (R-New Orleans), Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville), Scott McKnight (R-Baton Rouge), Joe Stagni (R-Kenner) and Speaker Pro Tem Tanner Magee (R-Houma). All three of the House’s independent representatives also voted against discharging the bill.

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow released the following statement:

“House lawmakers in Louisiana are not only endangering the health and inclusion of LGBTQ+ students and students with LGBTQ+ families, they’re endangering the respect for legislative processes. As Representative Sam Jenkins noted, lawmakers are sending the message that they can and will ignore committee decisions for any and all future bills.
Bills like Louisiana’s Don’t Say Gay or Trans legislation are a shameful attack on students who are already struggling with the weight of discrimination and isolation. We call on the Louisiana House to recognize the gravity of this bill and prevent it from advancing.”

There are more than 320 anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Nationwide, approximately 79% of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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