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Baton Rouge Civil Rights Ordinance

All citizens should be able to earn a living, have a place to live, and be served as anyone else by a business or government office.



Did You Know?
Right now federal law protects all of us from discrimination based on certain factors such as race, sex and religion. However no federal protections currently exist to protect LGBTQ people. Some states have these protections, but Louisiana is not one of them. We can, however, enact these protections locally, by passing the Civil Rights Ordinance (pdf).


These protections are badly needed, as anti-LGBTQ discrimination is widespread in Louisiana and nationwide. According to research from the Williams Institute, a national organization that researches LGBTQ issues, 47% of LGBTQ Louisianans have been discriminated against at work. Other research shows that 31% of transgender people have been discriminated in a public place and 20% have been unable to find a home or apartment.

What would a civil rights ordinance do?

It is a set of local laws that…

  • Provides protections against discrimination…

    • In employment, housing and public accommodation

    • Based on race, color, sex, disability, age, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, political or religious affiliation

  • Creates a volunteer commission that...

    • Serves in an advisory role to the public and city-parish

    • Makes recommendations to the council/mayor on issues related to civil rights

    • Receives and processes complaints and provides information to complainants 
      about legal options

    • Provides or coordinates mediation services


What does it NOT do?

  • Create an undue burden on small businesses. The ordinance has exemptions for employers with fewer than 15 employees or owner-occupied dwellings with fewer than five units.

  • Restrict religious freedom. Freedom of religion is already protected by the First Amendment, and this ordinance has exemptions for religious organizations. Also, freedom of religion doesn't doesn’t give any of us the right to impose our beliefs onto others, or discriminate.

  • Create a “kangaroo court” or “be nice police” requirement. The commission that is created by this ordinance will help the public by educating people on what discrimination is and is not. Actual claims of alleged discrimination will undergo a screening process that is completely impartial and will be kept confidential.

Why do we need this?

  • It provides local protections in EBR city-parish and benefits EVERYONE. Most discrimination protections that exist are at the state and federal level only. Current state and federal laws do not include sexual orientation and gender identity. 

  • It creates a better alternative than the current process. The current processes are inadequate because (1) they often take time, money and resources that many people do not have and (2) most people are unaware of how these processes work, so they either make incorrect claims or miss an opportunity to have their claim addressed. 

  • It brings us up to date with other cities. More than 200 cities and towns across the country, including New Orleans and Shreveport, have an LGBTQ-inclusive local ordinance. And 20 states have these laws statewide. 

  • It is good for business. Inclusive local policies will help Baton Rouge’s economy by attracting businesses--from large corporations to mom-and-pop stores--who want to establish offices and hold events here.

Call to Action
We urge local citizens to spread the word and let others know that it is time to protect all of our neighbors. We urge local businesses and organizations to join our coalition and encourage our local officials to make history by passing the Civil Rights Ordinance. Click here for a full list of the coalition members.

The Civil Rights Ordinance
To read the full text of the Baton Rouge Civil Rights Ordinance, click here.


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