Jun 7, 2024 - Politics

3 new anti-LGBTQ+ laws move ahead in Louisiana

Illustration of a fountain pen splitting the bars of a rainbow

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

As Louisiana's LGBTQ+ community began celebrating Pride month, the state's lawmakers were giving the OK to new bills targeting their freedoms.

Why it matters: Similar bills were vetoed under Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, but they aren't facing the same opposition with Republican Jeff Landry behind the governor's desk.

The big picture: In some ways, the legislation catches Louisiana up to some of its conservative-led counterparts, which saw a wave of anti-trans legislative action in 2023, when Edwards was in office.

  • Well-funded Christian and conservative groups have helped to spur along dozens of anti-trans bills nationwide, wrote Axios' Russell Contreras at the time.
  • The groups even shaped policy to conform to their beliefs by providing templates for the legislation, he wrote.

It also comes as the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of anti-LGBTQ+ organizations rose by a third in 2023 to 86 groups.

Yes, but: The momentum of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2023 has slowed somewhat nationally, according to new Human Rights Campaign data shared first exclusively with Axios, writes April Rubin.

Catch up quick: By the close of Louisiana's legislative session on Monday, lawmakers had sent a trio of anti-LGBTQ+ bills to Landry's desk.

  • HB 122, a version of the "Don't Say Gay" legislation, bans K-12 teachers from discussing gender or sexual orientation. It was authored by Rep. Dodie Horton (R-Haughton), who also authored the 10 Commandments bill.
  • HB 121 by Rep. Raymond Crews (R-Bossier City) requires teachers get parental permission to use a trans student's preferred pronouns, and protects teachers from disciplinary action if they refuse to use them.
  • HB608 by Rep. Roger Wilder III (R-Denham Springs) bans the use of bathrooms that don't match a person's sex assigned at birth at public schools, domestic violence shelters and correctional facilities.

The latest: Landry signed the bathroom bill Monday, making it effective Aug. 1.

  • In a press release touting the new law, Landry said it "protects women's safety and reinforces the very definition of what it means to be a woman."
  • Louisiana is also one of the states suing the Biden administration over new Title IX rules that would get in the way of that piece of legislation because they forbid discrimination based on gender identity.

What they're saying: "Every kid deserves a fair chance to succeed in school without being singled out for discrimination and harassment, yet Louisiana legislators have voted in favor of unfair treatment of LGBTQ+ kids and teachers," Peyton Rose Michelle, executive director of Louisiana Trans Advocates, said in a press release.

  • "Their actions are appalling, and kids and our communities will bear the brunt."

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Louisiana Trans Advocates.


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