Advocates hold sheriff accountable, Councilman pursues non-discrimination ordinance

Advocates hold sheriff accountable, Councilman pursues non-discrimination ordinance
Photo provided by staff
Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 7:00pm

Sheriff Sid Geautreaux is working to fix relations with the gay community after controversial arrests made by his deputies. The arrests of 12 gay men were made under an invalid ‘Crime Against Nature’ statute that was struck down by the Supreme Court 10 years ago.

Carrie Wooten with the Capital City Alliance sat down with the sheriff earlier this week, she said overall it was a productive hour and a half.

"We didn't want to go in and have him sort of putting on a show, and sort of a show of good faith. We wanted to really believe that he was committed to working with us, and we came away from that meeting feeling that, absolutely," said Wooten.

Wooten said the department is promising to fix their policies and set up a liaison with the LGBT community, something she feels is long overdue.

"This is work that probably should have been going on with the sheriff's department for a long time now. It’s unfortunate that this situation has been the catalyst," shared Wooten.

Councilman John Delgado wants to take it one step further, he's now working to get a permanent change on the books that stops this sort of thing from happening again.

"Ultimately we're going to have a dialogue about non-discrimination in Baton Rouge and the policy that we need to put into place, and once that dialogue is formulated, I will bring it forward. We run the risk of being viewed as outdated or backwater, or viewed poorly by people and business in other cities," explained Delgado.

Though the conversation is moving forward LGBT advocates maintain that at this point they're making the best of a bad situation.

"We can't lose sight of the fact that people's lives were severely impacted and damaged from the practices of the sheriff's department. We're just looking at it as the best way to remedy this situation," remarked Wooten.

Wooten and others with the CCA have said they plan to check on the progress of the Sheriff’s promises in about a month.

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