Perhaps emboldened by President Donald Trump, Republican state lawmakers in Florida have unleashed a hateful barrage of anti-LGBTQ legislation as the 2020 session gets under way in Tallahassee.
NBC News reports: “Seven Republican lawmakers in Florida filed anti-LGBTQ bills late Monday, just hours before the deadline to file new bills for the coming legislative session. If passed, the bills would ban gender-affirming health care for transgender children, repeal municipal and county ordinances protecting LGBTQ workers, and legalize so-called gay conversion therapy in places that had banned the medically debunked practice.”
Here’s a breakdown of the bills from Equality Florida, which is calling it “the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida legislature in recent memory”:
• House Bill 305 (Rep. Bob Rommel) / Senate Bill 1126 (Sen. Joe Gruters) repeals employment protections that currently cover 13 million Floridians. The legislation threatens city and county nondiscrimination ordinances that ensure Floridians aren’t discriminated against in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (Scheduled for House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee on January 15, 2020.)
• House Bill 3 (Rep. Michael Grant) / Senate Bill 1336 (Sen. Keith Perry) repeals 22 existing local ordinances protecting vulnerable LGBTQ youth from so-called “conversion therapy” that seeks to change a persons sexual orientation or gender identity and bans any local governments from establishing conversion therapy bans in the future. (Scheduled for House Business & Professions Subcommittee on January 15, 2020.)
• House Bill 537 (Rep. Byron Donalds) / Senate Bill 778 (Sen. Keith Perry) as written rolls back critical protections for LGBTQ youth by enabling conversion therapy even where cities and counties have already instituted protections, as long as the therapy occurs in a home. Conversion therapy is no less fraudulent or dangerous because it is practiced in a home setting.
Given Florida’s status as a swing state, the anti-LGBTQ bills could seriously backfire if they drive more Democrats to the polls in November. Here’s how one of Florida’s openly LGBTQ lawmakers, Democratic state Rep. Carlos G. Smith, reacted:
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