Despite a passionate appeal from its sponsor, the Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would ban employers from discriminating against gays, lesbians and transgender people.

The vote was 8-25.

No senator rose to oppose the measure, and most of the brief discussion was limited to state Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, urging colleagues to approve his proposal.

“This is a fairness bill; this is a bill to give people the opportunity to live their lives,” Carter said.

The legislation, Senate Bill 436, would make it illegal for employers to hire or fire anyone based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Critics have said the bill could spark a new avenue for litigation by disgruntled job applicants.

Carter repeatedly said his plan has nothing to do with access to bathrooms by transgender people.

“Today, I am asking you to stand up for those people who have historically been disenfranchised, people who have been ostracized,” he said.

“It has everything to do with fairness, everything to do with giving people the opportunity to gainfully employed,” Carter said.

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