NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana state senators today voted to overturn Governor John Bel Edwards’ veto of Senate Bill 156, which bans transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. During the override session, a group of protesters were pulled away from the chambers by Louisiana State Capitol security officers. 

The statement should be attributed to Alanah Odoms, ACLU of Louisiana executive director.

“Today, trans advocates protesting a relentless legislative assault were met by more brutality, cruelty, and oppression. The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment, but this morning we witnessed Capitol security officers violate this right by using excessive force to silence protesters and thwart free public expression.

People exercising their First Amendment rights should be treated with respect – not violence. 

The ACLU of Louisiana demands the release of all existing security camera footage of these protesters being removed from the State Capitol today, including video of their removal from the downstairs lobby and stairwell. In addition, we are calling for an investigation of this use of unnecessary force, and full transparency of Capitol security’s crowd control policy – we must know if this policy exists and if the officers involved in this incident adhered to that policy. 

We want trans youth to know that they are not alone, and that they have a broad coalition of advocates, educators, and businesses who will continue to fight alongside them and defend their right to be their authentic selves. We are calling on the House of Representatives to shelve this harmless crusade once and for all by voting to sustain Governor Edwards’ veto of Senate Bill 156.