Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry's skepticism about specific protections for gay and transgender people has earned him a new public critic: His brother.
Nick Landry, the brother of the state official, posted an emotional, 11-minute video advocating for LGBT rights on YouTube on Nov. 10. In it, he says he was compelled to speak out because he was concerned about his brother's stands on issues affecting LGBT people.
"I can't remain silent any longer, because although I am not political, I am a human being, and I just want my rights, my unalienable rights," Nick Landry said. "Those of you who are worried, who are in the same position as me and who may not have an attorney general for a brother, I want you to know I stand with you guys and those who want to be married and I'll do anything I can do to support anyone and any organization."
Nick Landry, 34, posted the video to a website called www.LandryforLouisianaEquality.com, which accompanies a hashtag he's using on social media. The website may be a nod to his brother's campaign website, www.LandryforLouisiana.com.
Jeff Landry did not respond to requests for comment from The Advocate.
In September, Jeff Landry announced he was blocking a number of state contracts because they included language that outlined protections for LGBT employees of the state. The nondiscrimination clause was required as part of an executive order issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards earlier this year that aims to protect state employees and companies that do business with the state from being discriminated against for sexual orientation, and for the first time ever, gender identity.
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Landry's office blocked the contracts, saying Edwards' administration did not have the authority to impose the nondiscrimination language in the contracts, because those people are not a protected class under state law.
The two are set to face off in court next month, with Landry asking a judge to vacate Edwards' executive order banning discrimination, and the governor asking the court to clearly define the role of the attorney general.
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In the video, Nick Landry does not disparage his brother, but he speaks about how he is not accepted by his family.
"Being from a family like my family, it isn't easy," he said. "It's hard because I want nothing more than to be a part of my family, and I love my family so much."
Nick Landry also misrepresents his brother's legal fight, saying that the attorney general is fighting to block gay marriage, rather than to stop LGBT people receiving specific work protections. Contacted by phone, Nick Landry said he didn't want to comment beyond what's on the video, but he clarified that he believes policies supported by his brother and other officials are harmful to the gay and transgender community.
In the video, Nick Landry recounts various instances where gay or transgender friends helped him when he was down on his luck.
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"I wanted to do this because I felt like I had to, because there's no one except for me who can take a stand against what my brother and other people and other organizations within Louisiana are doing to take away our right to marriage and our right to equality," he said.
This is not the first time Nick Landry has spoken out against his brother's LGBT positions.
In 2012, when Jeff Landry was a congressman, he asked the president of the University of Louisiana Lafayette to end a sociology minor in LGBT studies, saying it failed to provide an economic benefit to students.
The Gambit reported at the time that Nick Landry posted an open letter on Jeff Landry's Facebook page in response, saying: "I want to state my opposition publicly. Ignorance is not education. Your constituents, heterosexual and homosexual alike, have made huge inroads in working towards equality in our community. By embracing diversity and acknowledging our differences, we gain understanding."
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Jeff Landry responded in the Facebook post, "To my brother, I am sorry we disagree, but we still love and pray for you."