Editor's Note: The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
We know you'll agree with us when we say that all human beings should be treated fairly. Discrimination is wrong no matter who a person is. We need your help sharing that message with the Florida Legislature.
Florida's Civil Rights Act, passed in 1992, protects against discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and age. It is time to prohibit discrimination against other groups of people as well. We urgently need your help to make sure that the important legislation improving Florida's Civil Rights Act is scheduled for a hearing.
Senate Bill 2012 updates Florida laws covering employment, housing, and public accommodations so they will include the classes listed above, as well as disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, and familial or marital status.
Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely legal in many areas of Florida to fire someone from his or her job -- or deny that person a place to live -- solely because he or she is gay. For example, the Naples Daily News reported in December 2008 that after almost two years on the job, a gas station manager in Lee County was fired for informing his boss about anti-gay comments made by a co-worker.
To address discrimination just like this, twenty states and the District of Columbia have already enacted fair employment and/or housing laws covering sexual orientation. Florida should do the same.
Thank you for taking action on this important issue!