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New Orleans mayor replaces gay advisory panel

New Orleans mayor replaces gay advisory panel

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin replaced his entire advisory committee on gay and lesbian issues on Friday, a month after all the committee's previous members quit in protest over his endorsement of the Republican candidate for governor. A police officer, a physician, two lawyers, two bartenders, and a hotel owner were among those named to replace the seven who resigned from the Advisory Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues last month. On November 3, the Democratic mayor endorsed gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal, a Republican, who had angered many gay and lesbian leaders by refusing to meet to discuss civil rights issues and economic development. Jindal's main political supporter, Gov. Mike Foster, had also angered gay groups by refusing to meet with them. The committee members resigned en masse three days after Nagin's endorsement. In a letter to the mayor, committee chairman Randal M. Beach called it "unconscionable and incomprehensible" for the mayor to support Jindal over Democrat Kathleen Blanco. Both Blanco and Jindal said that they opposed discrimination; both also said they opposed creating a new law to prohibit discrimination against gay men and lesbians. On November 15, Blanco beat Jindal in a runoff election. The advisory committee studies the effect of proposed city and state legislation on gays and lesbians, and issues findings and recommendations to the mayor.

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