Each year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Equality Federation Institute team up to rate states on their friendliness to the groups’ agenda. Both advocate for laws that encourage acceptance of expressing homosexuality, even if that limits activity protected by the First Amendment.
With the majority of states, Louisiana scores low, but that shouldn’t surprise given the groups’ agenda. For example, the report faults states for having Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, which implement federal law that aids states in protecting First Amendment rights of their citizens. As many sincerely hold religious beliefs that see homosexual behavior as sinful, these acts protect exercise of that belief that doesn’t force adherents to endorse, by word or deed, expressions of homosexuality.
Weighing against this are federal government laws, derived from the Constitution and typically from its Equal Protection Clause within the 14th Amendment, that prohibit discrimination on the basis of immutable characteristics – race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability. The judiciary won’t extend First Amendment protections that serves to discriminate against people with these characteristics because these are innate. In other words, while the law protects on the basis of innate characteristics, the Constitution protects expressions of attitudes, two in particular – politics and religion.
These groups want to flip the script. Federal law doesn’t include the non-immutable category of sexual orientation, since that is defined not by genes but by personal choice. The latest research shows at best a weak, tenuous association (not causation) between certain genes and a desire to act homosexually, requiring certain environmental triggers to encourage one to choose homosexual preferences. In other words, a set of environmental stimuli, perhaps embraced with more fidelity by a subset of individuals based on biological characteristics, encourages people to act homosexually.
Yet these groups want federal law to protect people on the basis of that behavior, often justifying this by incorrectly denying that sexual preference is not immutable. Their logic, in the words of one activist, is “being gay or transgender is an innate characteristic, [so people] start to realize it’s not fair to penalize someone for an innate characteristic, especially one that doesn't even matter.”
But it doesn’t “penalize” to restrict behavior stemming from attitude when that attitudinal expression – unlike politics and religion – doesn’t have constitutional protection, nor does it enjoy the same federal legal protection as do genuine “innate” characteristics of human beings. Thus, laws enabling expression of homosexual behavior confer privilege rather than ensuring equality, especially when they conflict with activities that do have constitutional and legal protections.
So, Louisiana’s failure to pass certain laws such as nondiscrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation, or allowing students of one biological sex to compete in scholastic sports against members of the other; or to amend its constitution that guarantees “every person shall be free from discrimination based on race, religion, or national ancestry and from arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable discrimination based on age, sex, or physical condition” to add sexual orientation. may not adhere to these group’s agenda, but neither does it connote unjustifiable discrimination. If, for example, a sufficient religious objection exists to an expression of homosexuality, as religious belief has constitutional protection therefore it takes precedence.
If the groups proclaim Louisiana comes up short in fulfilling its agenda, that’s only because the state takes seriously guarding the constitutional rights of its people and will not sacrifice these to extend privilege to those who wish to express their sexuality in a certain way. Any accountable and responsible government would do the same.