The people of Louisiana, and particularly greater New Orleans, dodged a bullet when the House GOP failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of the proposed ban on transgender athletes from participating in women sports.
It is both an economic win and a moral victory for the state.
As prominent business leaders from both New Orleans and Baton Rouge argued in these pages, national sporting events and conventions are increasingly leery of traveling to states where discriminatory legislation is law.
Our state is profoundly invested in recovering the tourism trade right now. We agree with Rep. Royce Duplessis, D-New Orleans, who argued Wednesday that the anti-transgender bill was symbolic because no problems have been reported in girls' and women’s sports in the state — and symbolism is “not worth suffering dire economic consequences.”
This narrow vote, for example, preserves for Louisiana the hosting of next year’s NCAA Final Four tournament in New Orleans.
Perhaps many will find in this 68-30 vote — 70 votes are required in the House to override a veto — a political victory for Edwards. But it is also a demonstration of the skillful mobilization of both faith leaders and business executives supporting often-lonely transgender advocates like Dylan Waguespack.
From the first, we believed the bill was inherently discriminatory and introduced to inflame partisan tensions. As the governor argued, the small minority of transgender youth in our state are our children, too. They deserve a consideration and sensitivity that the majority of the Legislature could not find in their hearts, because it was more important for them to score political points.
Agree or disagree on today’s sometimes convoluted and overheated arguments about sexuality and identity, we believe Louisianians of moderate instincts and family values were skeptical that this bill involving children should ever have gone this far.
But the process, including a historic first veto session of the Legislature, yielded a reconsideration of the matter, and just in time.