By Will Hall, Message Editor
NEW ORLEANS – Although State Representative John Bel Edwards skipped out on the family and faith forum Nov. 12 which would have allowed panelists to question him directly about how his claim to be against same-sex marriage would translate into public policy, The Baptist Message has found sources which show Edwards supports transgender rights, and plans to pursue policies granting special rights to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
Edwards already is on record as fighting against HB707, The Marriage and Conscience Act, proposed this spring by State Representative Mike Johnson (R-Bossier City), who is an active member of First Baptist Church in Bossier City.
In a post on LouisianaforLiberty.com, Johnson identified Edwards as the legislator who “led the dramatic charge to stop my religious liberty bill and get it killed” in committee.
The proposed measure would have codified protections for Christians and others who hold the conviction that marriage can only be the union of one man and one woman, and prevented the state from forcing any government employee or official to act in contravention to their beliefs about marriage.
The bill also would have kept Louisiana agencies from taking away accreditation of Christian schools or the professional licenses of individuals or the protected status of churches and ministries because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this year that overturned Louisiana’s voter approved marriage laws.
Now, a prominent figure in a New Orleans homosexual activist group has revealed Edwards’ promise to support special policies for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
In a post on her blog for Forum for Equality Louisiana, Mary Griggs, a political activist who is the immediate past president of the group, invited followers to read Edwards’ policy intentions for homosexuals and transsexuals, “in his own words.”
Griggs quoted him as claiming credit for having “exposed Mike Johnson’s so-called religious freedom bill as a Trojan Horse.” She also cited him as boasting that “before and after I became a candidate for governor, I met with LGBT groups around the state,” and promising that as governor, “I will sign an executive order which prevents discrimination against LGBT people.”
This last pledge apparently is in response to two developments in the state:
— The Marriage and Conscience Order signed by Gov. Jindal which essentially put into place the protections Edwards defeated in opposing Johnson’s Marriage and Conscience Act.
— The Fairness Ordinance, defeated 8-4 by the East Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council, would have allowed men who claim gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder, to use bathrooms designated for women and girls. A similar measure, criticized as a transgender bathroom rights bill, was defeated by Houston voters earlier this month by more than 20 percentage points.
Importantly, in documents completed by Edwards for Project Vote Smart he indicated “yes” for support of the “inclusion of gender identity in Louisiana’s anti-discrimination laws.”
In her blog, Griggs was emphatic that gays and lesbians could provide the winning edge for Edwards, pleading for them to “turnout … convince voters to cross party lines … donate to his campaign.”
“Vote like your life depends on it!” she wrote in her pro-homosexual blog.
Early voting for the runoff election ended Nov. 14, but voters can still cast their ballots for governor on election day, Saturday, Nov. 21.