An ugly day for equality in Louisiana. The Louisiana House of Representatives soundly rejected expanding the state's anti-bullying law to protect "sexual orientation, gender [and] gender identity" among other categories. Sadly, many members used the opportunities to gay-bash.
The bill was introduced by State Rep. Austin Badon. The House first stripped the enumerated protected categories, a move that was vigorously opposed by "Badon and others, most of them black Democrats who.... defend[ed] gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students as worthy of protection," reported the Times Picayune. After stripping the enumerated provisions, the bill was rejected by a 43-54 vote.
The Rev. Gene Mills, head of the Family Forum, distributed handouts that dubbed the bill the "Homosexual Bullying Bill" and urged representatives to spike it because it "creates winners and losers, penalizes thought and perceived motives not actions and introduces sexual politics into the classroom." [...]
Over Badon's objection, Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, a supporter of the bill, won a vote to strip the list of characteristics from the proposal. "We're not going to come with an exhaustive list," Edwards said. "So it's better not to have the list and just say, 'You're not going to do it, period.'" Edwards also said removing the language would satisfy objections to the bill.
Badon and others, most of them black Democrats, disputed the negative characterizations of the bill, noting the broad scope of the committee version but also defending gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students as worthy of protection. "No matter what you think, you have gay and lesbian members of your community," Badon said. He later added, " ... They are human beings, too. God created them, too. And you don't have the right to decide whether their lifestyle is wrong or right."
Badon is from New Orleans and is one of the leaders of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. Email your thanks to Rep. Austin Badon HERE.
Several Republicans voted for the final version and several Democrats "from rural districts joined the mostly GOP-majority in opposition," reports the Times-Picayune.
"What's it going to take to represent the people in this state, all of them?" Love that quote. Looking for video and will post when available.