Despite recent advances in rights of LGBT persons such as the milestone Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015 that ruled same-sex couples have the right to marry, there are still many roadblocks in the way of equality.
ProCon.org, a nonpartisan website dedicated to identifying pros and cons of issues, says Louisiana was one of 13 states who had their marriage ban overturned as a result of the ruling. The few advances that have been made have faced challenges from the current Republican-led national government.
In 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order which gave protections to those employed by the state. The order protected employees from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, among other things. The Times-Picayune reported in June 2017, however, that Louisiana lawmakers later voted against what would have protected workplace discrimination in both the private and public sector.
So long as these protections are not in place, employers can remove workers who are within the LGBT community.
The transgender community especially has faced considerable violence and adversity. The Human Rights Campaign reported that in 2017 alone, at least four trans people have been killed in Louisiana. Our culture must change and accept the rights guaranteed to all Americans and stop these acts of violence.
An article published by BuzzFeed News in August 2017 states that Louisiana and 12 other states have hate crime laws that address sexual orientation but not gender identity. The actions of Louisiana lawmakers have shown that they will not fight for the freedoms of all who reside in the state by continuing to discriminate against LGBT people.
Without the proper protections in place, there will continue to be discriminatory actions against the LGBT community, sometimes resulting in violence and, as stated earlier, even deaths. Politicians are playing games with the American people and are not living up to our expectations as constituents, as usual.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence recognizes our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and as individuals, we all have the right to determine what happiness means to us. But it is up to the federal and state governments to recognize and respect that.
Regardless of what our personal beliefs may be, we are all Americans and are entitled to the same protections. There is no logical reason to deny the rights of others, and it is in the best interest of the entire nation that we respect the rights of our fellow citizens seeking those three quintessential freedoms.