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La. governor, attorney general at odds over protections for LGBT community

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry (Source: WAFB) Gov. John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

On Wednesday, Louisiana joined 10 other states in a lawsuit against a federal requirement allowing transgender students the right to use whatever bathroom they identify with in public schools. 

That has only reignited the fight in the state over workplace discrimination against the LGBT community. 

Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry and Gov. John Bel Edwards are in a war of words over the issue. Both are claiming the other is abusing their power. 

Just one day after the Senate failed to pass a bill banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Landry is calling the governor’s executive order offering similar protections inappropriate. 

"I think that the general mood indicates that this type of policy is not supported here in this state," Landry said. 

Previous governors have issued similar executive orders in the state, but none have received the kind of pushback Edwards' order is experiencing. This is possibly because unlike previous governors, the Democrat is the first to include transgender people under the protection. 

The main issue the attorney general has with the governor's executive order is that it seeks to create a brand new class of people in order to protect. It’s something under law, Landry said the governor simply cannot do. 

"He doesn't get to make law," Landry said. "That's the legislature's job. He gets to execute it." 

Edwards condemned the comments in a statement Wednesday saying, "The attorney general has overstepped the authority given to his office and he is not attempting to erode the constitutionally granted executive power of the governor and is disrupting the work of state agencies." 

Landry said he is not against the order but rather the governor’s actions, which he views as political overreach. 

"The governor absolutely, under statute, has the ability under narrow circumstances to issue executive orders, but those executive orders have to be grounded in law or the constitution," Landry added. 

Edwards vowed to stand behind the measure, saying, "Discrimination of any kind is not a Louisiana value and I will do everything in my power, including enforcing this order to foster a productive and welcoming work environment in Louisiana’s state government." 

For now, Landry’s comments will not affect the executive order, but they could be used as a basis of a future lawsuit against it. 

Click here to read the opinion issued by the AG's office concerning the executive order

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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