Nadine Smith

First Ever: LGBT Equality Bill Set to Go Before Florida Senate Committee

Filed By Nadine Smith | March 26, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Equality Florida, Florida, LGBT

This Friday, March 26th, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a workshop on the Florida Competitive Workforce Act - SB 798 (FCWA).

This is a breakthrough moment for a fully inclusive bill made possible by Equality Florida's grassroots activist and allies network working closely with our lobbying team. With over a decade of relationship-building in Tallahassee, Equality Florida is proud to be working with Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike on advancing a bill prohibiting discrimination against Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community.

When passed, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" to Florida's existing civil rights codes that ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Currently, the law protects people based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, handicap or marital status.

"No Floridian should be denied the right to work or otherwise live life comfortably based on their sexual orientation or gender identity," said Senator Gelber, the lead sponsor of SB 798. "This bill is a step in the right direction to provide the basic right of equality to all."

Friday's workshop will mark the first time the state legislature has discussed a bill to include LGBT people into Florida's Civil Rights Codes. The workshop comes at a time when cities and businesses across the state are rapidly adopting policies prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people. This week, the Leon County Commission voted to move forward with a policy that would protect LGBT people in that county, which is home to the state capital, Tallahassee.

To be competitive, to recruit and retain top talent to our state, Florida needs to provide protections from discrimination. Major cities in Florida already have these protections. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would ensure individuals across our state are hired, fired and promoted based on their skills and job performance, not discriminated against based on prejudice.


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This is great - step by step. There's work being done for something similar here in Ohio.

Nadine, is there any estimate of how this bill is expected to do in the Florida legislature?

Great for a state like Florida. So gay friendly in some parts, so not in others.

Unlike Indiana, which has a pocket or two, but mostly just homophobia all over.