Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' special session strategy in place; will conservatives foil his plans? _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- During a press conference, Gov. John Bel Edwards, left, answers questions about the regular legislative session that just ended Monday afternoon June 6, 2016. The regular legislative session ends and the second special convenes today.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared June as “LGBT Pride Month” in Louisiana -- recognizing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people ahead of the annual gay rights Pride march to the Capitol.

Edwards’ proclamation, which was first revealed on Twitter by the advocacy group Equality Louisiana, praises “the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society.”

Edwards’ spokesman, Richard Carbo, confirmed it’s authenticity to The Advocate on Friday.

“Gov. Edwards is committed to protecting access to equal opportunities for all of our citizens,” Carbo said. “This proclamation is a recognition of the diversity we cherish in Louisiana and our willingness to embrace our differences.”

It’s the first such proclamation ever in Louisiana, designating an entire month in recognition of gay rights. The proclamation notes that “June is commemorated across the United States in recognition of LGBT people speaking out fearlessly and demonstrating for liberation.”

President Barack Obama declared June as LGBT Pride Month in a presidential proclamation earlier this month.

For the past five years, Equality Louisiana and other gay rights groups have led an LGBT equality march to the steps of the state Capitol. This year’s march is slated for Saturday.

Edwards, a Democrat who took office in January, signed an executive order earlier this year that prohibits discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

There currently is no state law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people from discrimination in Louisiana, so Edwards’ anti-discrimination order applies exclusively to state services and government contractors.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp. For more coverage of Louisiana state government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.