It is being reported that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has decided to allow an executive order issued by former Governor Kathleen Blanco that prohibited discrimination against state employees because of their sexual orientation to lapse. Apparently, Jindal feels that federal and state laws do an adequate job of prohibiting discrimination; however, neither federal nor Louisiana law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Jindal’s decision only underscores the fragility of employment discrimination protections by executive order—lesbian and gay state employees can go from being protected against employment discrimination one day, to being vulnerable the next.
The pendulum swung in the other direction in Kentucky in early June, when Governor Steve Beshear reinstated a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment. Such a prohibition had been implemented in Kentucky by executive order in 2003, repealed by another governor’s executive order in 2006, and then reinstated by Beshear in 2008. It’s enough to make anyone (let alone the state’s lesbian and gay employees) dizzy.