Since last November, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden has worked closely with Capital City Alliance and EQLA to update the city’s nondiscrimination policy to make sure that all people are protected regardless of sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Mayor Holden is taking a necessary step in making his city-parish a place where LGBT people have the opportunity to succeed, to flourish, and to live. His long-term commitment to working with us and our partners should be commended. The recent issues with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office demonstrate how important it is for open and active dialogue between the LGBT community and public officials.
Additionally, after admitting that they have also been using the unconstitutional portions of the “crimes against nature” law, Baton Rouge Police Department has agreed to take steps similar to those being taken by the Sheriff’s Office. The Chief of Police said the Department would begin to report hate crime statistics, work with CCA and Equality Louisiana to implement training for all personnel, and work with us to establish an LGBT liaison position.
Baton Rouge joins Shreveport, Lafayette, and New Orleans as cities that recognize and value equality and dignity. Closer to, and more in touch with, their communities than legislators, these local leaders are slowly changing the landscape in Louisiana for the better. There is an increasing willingness at the local level to change policies and practices to make our cities safer and better places for LGBT people–something we have not yet seen in the state legislature. We hope this trend continues, and call upon all of the elected officials in our state take a cue from these brave local policymakers to work for changes that give LGBT people the respect and rights they deserve.
We are gaining momentum in Baton Rouge and need your help to keep it going! You can support the work of CCA by donating here, by volunteering and even just by coming to a Second Sunday Brunch at Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro.