So much for the politics of conservative compassion supposedly signfied by the recent election of Bobby Jindal as Louisiana's new governor. Jindal will drop an executive order prohibiting employment discrimination against gay and lesbian state employees that was put in place in 2004 by his Democratic predecessor.
The order expires on Friday. Jindal says it "shouldn't come as a surprise" he will not renew the discrimination protections. "The reason for allowing the order to lapse is that I don’t think it is necessary to create additional special categories or special rights," Jindal tells The New Orleans Advocate. The governor adds: "We are firmly and strongly committed to fair treatment of all of our people and certainly don’t condone discrimination in any form."
Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco enacted the order on Dec. 6, 2004. The order bars state agencies and contractors from various sorts of harassment and discrimination by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation or disabilities. Louisiana was the only state in the deep south to protect its LGBT state employees.
Jindal fought the order since its inception. When Blanco announced in 2005 she was preparing the order, Jindal, "then a member of Congress, joined with Sen. James David Cain and two Republican members of the Legislature to fight the measure." Meanwhile, the Louisiana legislature has rejected several proposals aimed at ensuring equal legal protections for gays and lesbians.
Bobby Jindal is widely rumored to be on the short list as a potential vice presidential running mate for John McCain. Jindal's rejection of employment discrimination rights for gay state employees comes only days after McCain said he could not choose a "pro-gay rights" running mate. Sounds like the message was received loud and clear.
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