Louisiana Passes Transgender Bathroom Bill, Heads to Governor's Desk

The Louisiana House and Senate recently passed HB 608, sending it to Governor Jeff Landry. Known as the "Women's Safety and Protection Act," the bill defines "sex," "male," and "female" in state law. It seeks to protect women in female-only facilities like restrooms and dorms.

The bill notes enduring physical differences between men and women, citing a U.S. Supreme Court case that acknowledges these distinctions. It emphasizes the inherent differences as a reason for celebration, not discrimination, and references the Fourteenth Amendment.

Governor Landry, who has not yet commented, opposed Obama's Title IX bathroom policies in 2016. He argued that the federal government lacked authority to dictate local school bathroom policies.

LGBTQ+ advocates have criticized the bill as restrictive. They argue it could endanger the transgender community by enforcing stringent bathroom and facility usage based on biological sex.

Louisiana's Superintendent of Education, Cade Brumley, has directed schools to disregard recent federal changes to Title IX that affect gender identity. He insists that student-athletes should compete according to their biological sex.

Brumley and Landry have sued the Biden administration over these Title IX changes. Landry humorously commented that he couldn't claim to be Shaquille O'Neal to play basketball at LSU without being ridiculed.

The bill first passed the State House on April 11 with significant support. It reflects a political shift in Louisiana, especially after the recent election of the Republican Governor Landry.

Former Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, vetoed similar bills last year. These included bills on pronoun use, transgender surgery, and legislation akin to Florida's controversial "Don't Say Gay" law.

Bel Edwards, unique as a Democrat in the Deep South, described these GOP-led bills as harmful to vulnerable, minority children in the state.