Metro Weekly

Louisiana governor candidate attacks transgender community in new ad

U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham's new ad attempts to rally social conservatives around his candidacy

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham – Photo: U.S. Congress, via Facebook.

A Republican candidate for Louisiana governor has released a new TV ad touting his conservative bona fides, in which he takes a swipe at the transgender community.

U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham launched the 30-second spot on Thursday. The ad, which features Abraham speaking directly to the camera, purports to share some “truths” with viewers aimed at consolidating the Republican base — particularly social conservatives around his candidacy.

Among the “truths” that Abraham spouts are: “Life begins at conception,” “Government is too big,” “Our taxes are too high” (despite the state having the 6th-lowest state-local tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation), “our car insurance is too expensive,” “President Trump is doing a great job,” “Facts matter more than feelings,” and “The Second Amendment is self-explanatory.”

“And as a doctor, I can assure you, there are only two genders,” he says.

Abraham, a three-term Congressman from Alto, in northeast Louisiana, has been a staunch conservative during his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, including voting against the Equality Act and saying he supports President Trump’s efforts to ban transgender personnel from the U.S. military.

In 2017, one of the bills Abraham co-sponsored was the Civil Rights Uniformity Act, which would have explicitly barred courts from interpreting the word “sex” or “gender” to include gender identity, and would require the terms “man” or “woman” to refer exclusively to a person’s biologically-assigned gender at birth.

If passed, this prohibition would have applied to any and all civil rights laws, federal agency regulations, or internal agency guidance — meaning courts or federal bodies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would effectively be barred from ruling in favor of any transgender person who alleges they were the victim of sex discrimination.

Because of Louisiana’s open primary law, Abraham will face off against Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican businessman Eddie Rispone on Oct. 12. If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote during the first round, the top two will head to a runoff election on Nov. 16.

Given Louisiana’s conservative slant, Abraham’s easiest path to victory would rely on consolidating the Republican base around his candidacy in the hope of pushing Rispone out of contention and preventing more moderate Republicans from “crossing over” to vote for Edwards — hence, the emphasis on social issues in his commercial.

Shortly after taking office, Edwards, who has been supportive of LGBTQ rights, rescinded an executive order issued by his predecessor, Bobby Jindal, which stated that state agencies and businesses that receive taxpayer money to cite “sincerely held religious beliefs” — specifically beliefs opposing same-sex marriage or homosexuality in general — as justification for refusing to provide goods and services to LGBTQ individuals or same-sex couples. 

Edwards also signed an executive order prohibiting state agencies and contractors from discriminating against LGBTQ individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, that order was eventually overturned by a state judge who argued that Edwards was attempting to circumvent the legislature — which has previously rejected attempts to add LGBTQ protections into law — and had violated the separation of powers by issuing the order.

See Abraham’s ad below:

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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