LEGAL's Efforts in The Executive Branch

Among LEGAL's earliest efforts was to establish a good working relationship with then-Governor Edwin Edwards. LEGAL's Board of Directors consulted with Edwards on a regular basis, advising him on lesbian and gay issues and requesting his assistance to ensure that our rights were obtained and protected.

In 1994, at LEGAL's request, Governor Edwards appointed the first openly lesbian individual, Joan Ladnier, to his Commission on Crime. Ladnier was appointed to represent the gay and lesbian community, because of the special offenses, such as hate crimes, which are directed against gay men and lesbians. Her input on the panel helped ensure that the Hate Crimes Bill was included as part of the governor's package of bills introduced during the Third Extraordinary Session of the Legislature in 1994 (the so-called "Crime" session).

During Edwards' final term in office, he issued an Executive Order covering all executive branch agencies, boards, and commissions, prohibiting discrimation on the basis of sexual orientation. In addition, the Executive Order required that all companies contracting with the Executive Branch must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation as well.

We are currently working on establishing relations with Governor Foster and hope to have some input into issues which affect gays and lesbians during this administration as well.