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Florida politicians introduce bills for LGBTI non-discrimination protections

Florida politicians introduce bills for LGBTI non-discrimination protections

Volunteers carry a 1.25-mile-long rainbow flag in Key West, Florida

Two Florida politicians introduced new bills protecting LGBTI people in the state from employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination on Tuesday (22 January).

Senator Darryl Rouson and Representative Jennifer Webb, both Democrats, introduced the legislation in their respective chambers.

House Bill 485 and Senate Bill 430 seek to amend the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992  by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of identities protected from discrimination.

This legislation is also known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.

According to reports, both bills are expected to receive bipartisan support. Currently, Republicans have a majority in both the state senate and house of representatives.

What the bills say

As both bills state, the Florida Civil Rights Act aims to ‘secure for all individuals within the state freedom from discrimination’ due to various identities, beliefs, and more.

If these bills pass, sexual orientation and/or gender identity will be protected identities.

‘There has never been a stronger climate in Tallahassee for passage, and its bipartisan momentum is undeniable,’ Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer said of the legislation.

Various companies, such as Disney and Wells Fargo, support the bills’ passage as well.

How the US fares with non-discrimination protections

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) details the legislation of non-discrimination protections in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For example, some have legislation explicitly protecting both sexual orientation and gender identity, while some interpret existing legislation that way. In other states, legislation only protects sexual orientation and in others still, legislation protects neither identity.

In employment and housing, 22 states have explicit legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

For public accommodations, 21 states have such legislations.

The non-discrimination policy for sexual orientation and gender identity with the most states (32) supporting it is for state employees.

See also:

Small Kansas city passes law protecting LGBTI residents from discrimination

Which 15 US cities scored 0 on an LGBTI equality survey?

152 elected officials urge incoming Congress to prioritize LGBTI rights