A series of bills in Louisiana that opponents fear will negatively impact LGBTQ+ youths neared final passage Monday, advancing in the waning days of the state’s legislative session.
Although similar bills have failed in the past, it seems the fate of Louisiana’s package of LGBTQ+-related bills is all but sealed as they appeared likely to reach Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk for his consideration.
The legislation comes amid a year in which Republican-dominate legislatures around that country have passed similar bills taking aim at various aspects of transgender existence — from pronoun usage and bathroom access to medical care and more.
All of the Louisiana bills received approval mainly along party lines in both the House and Senate. They now must go back to their original chambers — where they have already overwhelmingly passed — for lawmakers to approve of the mostly minor amendments. After concurring on the amendments, the legislation will be sent to Edwards.
Whether Edwards, who has said he opposes such legislation, will veto any of the measures remains to be determined. Last year, Edwards chose not to block a Louisiana law banning transgender athletes from participating in women and girls sports competitions, saying it was clear that a veto would be overridden.
If Edwards does reject any bill, lawmakers could convene a veto session to try to override his decision. In order to override a veto, a two-thirds vote is required in both the House and Senate. Republicans hold a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
Here are Louisiana’s LGBTQ+-related bills that have passed and are still awaiting final passage.
“Don’t say gay” bill
A bill that would broadly ban K-12 public school employees in Louisiana from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom passed the Senate on Monday. The legislation is similar to a law enacted in Florida last year that critics dubbed, “Don’t Say Gay.”
Opponents of Louisiana’s bill argue that it constitutes a targeted attack on the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, critics say that instead of protecting students, the legislation would harm an already vulnerable community, as research suggests transgender children and adults face heightened risks of stress, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Proponents argue that the bill is a parental rights measure, allowing parents to broach “sensitive topics” of gender identity and sexual orientation with their children when and how they best see fit.
A measure requiring public school teachers to use the pronouns and name that align with a student’s sex assigned at birth, passed in the Senate. Under the bill, a parent can give written consent for pronouns, not consistent with the student’s sex assigned at birth, to be used. However a teacher can override the parent’s request if it goes against their own religious or moral values.
The pronoun legislation in Louisiana is among a wave of interchangeable bills being considered in statehouses across the nation, which would formally allow or require schools to deadname transgender students or could out them to their parents without consent. Deadnaming refers to using the name a transgender person used prior to transitioning.
Gender-affirming care ban
One bill, which has received statewide and national attention, would prohibit hormone treatments, gender-affirming surgery and puberty-blocking drugs for transgender minors in Louisiana.
The legislation had been killed by a Senate committee last month. But amid mounting pressure from state Attorney General Jeff Landry and the Republican Party of Louisiana, GOP lawmakers successfully resurrected the bill.
The Senate passed the gender affirming medical care ban for transgender youths on Monday. The measure will go back to the House to approve of amendments, including pushing back the effective date of the law to Jan. 1, 2024.
Library book restrictions
The Senate passed a bill on Monday, requiring public libraries to create a card system that would prevent children from checking out “sexually explicit material” unless they have parental approval. The legislation would also allow parents to bring books they feel are inappropriate to a local board for review of the material.
Republicans say the bill is not created to target a specific group, but rather to protect children from accessing inappropriate material and strengthening parental rights. Across the aisle opponents say the bill addresses an issue that is not an immediate problem and they worry that LGBTQ+-related content could be censored.
Republished with permission from The Associated Press.