BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's governor has lost his latest effort to revive an executive order aimed at protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in state government.

A three-judge panel of a Louisiana appeal court ruled Wednesday that Gov. John Bel Edwards lacked authority to issue his April 2016 order banning discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The appeal court panel sided with a lower court judge who blocked enforcement of the order in December at Attorney General Jeff Landry's urging.

Landry, a Republican, says Edwards unconstitutionally sought to create state law and circumvent Louisiana lawmakers who refused to approve such LGBT-rights protections.

Edwards argued he has the authority to issue a policy governing employment and contracting standards in the executive branch.

“I have said repeatedly that discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this decision does not change my conviction that hiring decisions in state government should be based on merit alone," said Edwards in a statement shortly after the decision was announced. Discrimination in state government and by state contractors is wrong, makes us weaker, and is bad for business and economic development. Even President Trump agrees, as he has kept in place a federal executive order which is virtually identical to the order I put in place. I went a step further and provided an exemption for certain religious organizations. We will thoroughly review the ruling before determining our next steps.”