Legislation that seeks to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity could be heard in a Louisiana House committee next week.
State Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, has unsuccessfully pushed similar anti-discrimination bills in recent years but said he’s hopeful House Bill 612 will at the very least get a hearing again at the Capitol this session.
“I’m proud to be able to offer this legislation and be a voice for all of those who have been discriminated against,” Badon told reporters Monday. “Discrimination in any form is patriotically wrong.”
The legislation aims to protect people from job and housing discrimination, among other protections.
Several cities have adopted similar nondiscrimination ordinances, including New Orleans. Efforts to pass a similar ordinance in Baton Rouge repeatedly have failed.
The proposed statewide legislation is a departure from a separate bill dealing with same-sex marriage that has grabbed headlines this session.
Gay rights advocates have said they oppose state Rep. Mike Johnson’s House Bill 707 because they worry that it encourages discrimination. Johnson, R-Bossier City, has argued that his goal is to protect Christians and others from the state retaliating against business owners because of their religion-based objections to same-sex marriage.
Badon said he disagrees with Johnson’s bill.
“It is contrary to what we have been trying to build in Louisiana — a state that is family-friendly and business-friendly,” Badon said.
Johnson, whose legislation has won the support of Gov. Bobby Jindal, has said he also expects a committee hearing likely this week or next.
Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure.