Supporters of gay rights initiatives will gather at the downtown Shreveport office of Rep. Alan Seabaugh today to urge the state lawmaker to amend a bill that they say unfairly excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers. According to Seabaugh, the bill is intended to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits clogging the courts. Seabaugh told WRKF that small business owners spend considerable time and money defending themselves in discrimination suits. The bill, he said, doesn't involve the LGBT community.
“This bill was not brought to limit lawsuits from that aspect of society because essentially they’re not protected in the law now, and they don’t file a lot of lawsuits," Seabaugh said.
Adrienne Critcher is with the organization PACE. It stands for People Acting for Change and Equality. She said since the LGBT community is not a protected class in Louisiana, it leaves them exposed to workplace discrimination.
“Rep. Seabaugh is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist," Critcher said. "What he’s really trying to do is send a strong message to LGBT people -- and really to all people who care about fair treatment and equality -- that we don’t care about those things in Louisiana.”
The activists plan to gather at Seabaugh’s office on April 24 at 10 a.m. They also will urge the Republican lawmaker to sign on to a separate bill that extends employment discrimination protections to LGBT workers. Seabaugh’s bill is set to go before the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.