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Louisiana lawmakers reject ‘Don’t say gay’ bill

The bill was opposed by the state’s LGBTQ+ advocacy groups as well as Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

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Louisiana State Capitol building (Photo Credit: Screenshot YouTube LA State Government)

BATON ROUGE –  A sweeping bill that would bar school employees from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in K-12 classrooms in the state was killed in the Louisiana House Education Committee Tuesday.

House Bill 837, introduced by state Representative Dodie Horton, (R-District 9-Bossier) would enact a law that: 

  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight.
  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall discuss his own sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

Horton, speaking with ABC News’ Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ-2, at the time she introduced the legislation told the station;

“I wasn’t aware of the need [for this legislation] until I looked at some things on Twitter and Facebook,” Horton told WBRZ Thursday. “It just solidified for us to protect our Louisiana children, as well.”

“I started to pray about how we could protect our children here from inappropriate conversations until they are able to dissect it and old enough to understand it,” Horton explained. “I talked to my pastor and he challenged me and said, ‘we definitely need to do this.’”

This legislation follows passage of a similar bill in Florida and efforts in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia and 16 other states in at least 40 bills have been introduced to ban classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ people which opponents charge leads to erasure of LGBTQ+ identity and increased risks of suicide by LGBTQ+ youth.

Passage was opposed by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups as well as Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards whose office had released a statement:

“Some of the bills being brought up this session do nothing to make lives better. Nothing to continue moving us forward. They only serve to divide us. And frankly, some are reminiscent of a dark past that we should learn from, not relive.”

Louisiana

30 year vet Out Meteorologist David Bernard turns hate into LGBTQ+ love

“What I won’t accept are personal attacks about me- And by the way the word faggot has two G’s,” Bernard noted

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Screenshot/YouTube Fox 8 New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – Weather predictions and forecasting can sometimes seem like an inartistic interpretation of the sciences behind the subject and when you’re in front of a television audience on a news cast? Well that oft times leads to criticism- when you get the forecast wrong.

Recently though for veteran openly gay Fox 8 New Orleans meteorologist David Bernard, a bit of criticism turned ugly and homophobic. Writing on his personal Facebook page, Bernard relayed what happened:

“I received a disturbing email yesterday from a person who was upset about the forecast. After 30 years I can stand and accept the criticism when I get it wrong.

What I won’t accept are personal attacks about me. This individual sent me this email using his company email which I’m refraining from posting at this time since I don’t know if it is his own or owned by others.

And by the way the word faggot has two G’s”

Bernard decided that in light of this nasty hate filled diatribe he would turn a negative into a positive.

“I love all of you. Let me make clear that I am doing ok. Being an out gay man in public has had its struggles especially 30 years ago when I got into television but because of the support of so many family members, friends and people like you it has gotten much easier. But the reality is it is NOT easy for many people still today who feel marginalized. Comments like the one in the email are like a death by a thousand cuts for those that don’t have that support network in place. I have supported the Trevor Project over the years and made a donation today. I invite you to do the same or to any other organization that helps those who have less or are made to feel they are less.”

Bernard then left the following link for viewers, followers and those wishing to donate:

https://give.thetrevorproject.org/give/63307/#!/donation/checkout

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Louisiana

Louisiana’s anti-Trans sports ban enacted without governor’s intervention

The governor labeled the bill as “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana” 

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Louisiana State Capitol (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

BATON ROUGE – The measure titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ SB 44 took effect Monday banning transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender at all public and some private elementary and secondary schools and colleges in Louisiana.

The measure became law after the state’s Democratic Governor Gov. John Bel Edwards decided to take not action on the legislation. Last year the governor had vetoed a similar measure, which was also introduced by Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell, which Edwards had labeled “a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” in his veto statement.

The governor noted in his veto last July: “As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue.”

During a press conference after his veto Edwards told reporters:

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

“We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. “We have to be better than that.” 

On Monday, June 5, at his press briefing the governor noted that it was clear to him that lawmakers would move to override his veto if he issued another one this year. He added that he remains completely opposed to the ban.

“Whether it’s intended or not, the effect is to tell — send a strong message to at least some of these young people that they shouldn’t be who they think they are, who they believe they are, who they know that they are,” he said. “And I find that very distressing. I do believe that we can be better than that.”

The law requires that participation in sports will be defined by a student’s “biological sex” as listed on the student’s official birth certificate “which is entered at or near the time of the student’s birth.”

The legislation also protects schools, coaches and other school employees enforcing the ban from any legal action and allows cisgender women to seek legal action if they allege that participation by a Trans athlete allowed by a school “deprived them of an athletic opportunity” because of a violation of the ban.

“Louisiana enacting an anti-trans sports ban marks the 25th anti-trans bill passed this year. Pride Month should be a time of celebration, not one of fear and anxiety. According to The Trevor Project’s research, 83% of transgender and nonbinary youth said that they have worried about transgender people being denied the ability to play sports due to state or local laws. Nearly 1 in 5 attempted suicide in the past year,” said Carrie Davis, Chief Community Officer for The Trevor Project. “This Pride, we need our cisgender and straight allies, especially those in government, sports, healthcare, and the business world, to speak out and take action for the transgender and nonbinary youth under attack. We can promote fairness in sports without sidelining all transgender students in the process, but we also know these attacks are not about fairness in sports — they’re about our very existence. The press must recognize that these bills are part of a larger effort to erase transgender and nonbinary youth by making it virtually impossible to grow up trans.”

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Louisiana

Unprecedented use of rare procedure revives ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Louisiana

The procedure is called “Committee of the Whole,” which allows the House to vote to override the House Education Committee’s vote

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Louisiana State Capitol building (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

BATON ROUGUE – Democrats and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are crying foul after a Louisiana State Republican Representative Raymond Crews, (District 8- Bossier City) used a rare legislative procedural tool Tuesday to revive House Bill 837, introduced by fellow state Republican Dodie Horton, (District 9-Bossier), that was killed in the Louisiana House Education Committee last week.

The procedure is called “Committee of the Whole,” which allows the House to vote to override the House Education Committee’s vote. Crews’ motion passed along party lines 55-39.

House Bill 837 would enact a law that: 

  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight.
  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall discuss his own sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

“Anti-LGBTQ+ politicians are pulling out all the stops in their attempt to censor and control students and teachers,” said Sarah Jane Guidry, executive director of the Louisiana Forum for Equality, the state’s LGBTQ advocacy organization.

“It’s absurd that politicians are resorting to this kind of behavior. Moving this bill forward at the expense of LGBTQ+ students’ well-being is a shameful political trick. It’s time for our elected officials to halt this bill once and for all and return their focus to the real issues facing families in our state, like quality health care and economic programs,” she added.

The chair of the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus State Rep. Sam Jenkins blasted the Republican maneuvering.

“It would be unprecedented to use the committee of the whole for this purpose,” Jenkins, told local media outlets. “If that’s the case, then every bill that fails in a committee could be brought to the floor. For that reason, I would object to this bill being discharged.

All children, including transgender children, deserve to be supported and respected in school. Positive representation of LGBTQ+ people and issues in school is a critical part of creating an inclusive environment that protects LGBTQ+ kids’ safety and well-being,” Peyton Rose Michelle, Secretary on the Board of Directors of LA Trans Advocates said in an emailed statement. “This bill would also deny all students–not only LGBTQ+ students–the opportunity to learn accurate history and important lessons about the diverse world around them. I’m disappointed to see politicians putting partisan games above young people’s rights and freedoms. But I’m so proud of the young people and families who have already spoken out against this dangerous censorship effort and we won’t stop fighting for safe, supportive and liberating education for all.”

This legislation follows passage of a similar bill in Florida and efforts in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia and 16 other states in at least 40 bills have been introduced to ban classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ people which opponents charge leads to erasure of LGBTQ+ identity and increased risks of suicide by LGBTQ+ youth.

Passage was opposed by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups as well as Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards whose office had released a statement:

“Some of the bills being brought up this session do nothing to make lives better. Nothing to continue moving us forward. They only serve to divide us. And frankly, some are reminiscent of a dark past that we should learn from, not relive.”

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Louisiana

‘Don’t Say Gay’ pile-on: Louisiana State Rep. introduces sweeping bill

Horton told WBRZ ABC 2: “I talked to my pastor and he challenged me and said, ‘we definitely need to do this’”

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Rep. Dodie Horton, (R) being interviewed by WBRZ-2 (Screenshot/WBRZ)

BATON ROUGE- Louisiana House Representative Dodie Horton, Republican District 9-Bossier Parish, introduced a sweeping bill Thursday that would bar school employees from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in K-12 classrooms in the state.

House Bill 837 states: 

  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight.
  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall discuss his own sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

Horton, speaking with ABC News’ Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ-2, told the station;

“I wasn’t aware of the need [for this legislation] until I looked at some things on Twitter and Facebook,” Horton told WBRZ Thursday. “It just solidified for us to protect our Louisiana children, as well.”

“I started to pray about how we could protect our children here from inappropriate conversations until they are able to dissect it and old enough to understand it,” Horton explained. “I talked to my pastor and he challenged me and said, ‘we definitely need to do this.’”

This legislation follows passage of a similar bill in Florida and efforts in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia and 16 other states in at least 40 bills have been introduced to ban classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ people which opponents charge leads to erasure of LGBTQ+ identity and increased risks of suicide by LGBTQ+ youth.

Governor John Bel Edwards’ office released the following statement in response to the bill, reiterating comments made by the governor during Monday’s State of the State address. 

“Some of the bills being brought up this session do nothing to make lives better. Nothing to continue moving us forward. They only serve to divide us. And frankly, some are reminiscent of a dark past that we should learn from, not relive.”

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Louisiana

Louisiana lawmakers fail to overturn Edwards veto of Trans sports bill

Edwards further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.”

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Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards (Photo Credit: Official state portrait)

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana lawmakers failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto last month of a bill that would have barred trans girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools.

The measure, Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ in the Governor’s eyes, “was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” Edwards said in his veto statement;

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue. 

The Republican majority state House chamber failed to override the Governor’s veto after voting 68-30 to override it, according to the state legislature’s website.

The vote narrowly missed the 70-vote threshold needed in the lower chamber to override the veto.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate must vote to override a governor’s veto, according to the local Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate.

The Governor reacted to the news that his veto withstood Republican efforts to overturn it in a press conference Wednesday.

Edwards noted that in his view he had “rejected a play” that had no place in Louisiana. 

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

“We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. “We have to be better than that.” 

 

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