Florida Gay Rights Bill Won't Advance after Senate Stalemate

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February 10, 2016
By: James Buechele

We asked several people today if they thought discriminating against the LGBT community in the workforce was illegal in the state of Florida. Many said yes.

The truth is there is currently no law banning discrimination when it comes to sexual orientation in the state of Florida. 22 states and the District of Columbia do have laws on the books.

By: Associated Press
February 9, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida won't pass legislation this year to extend civil rights protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A Senate committee remained deadlocked Tuesday on an LGBT anti-discrimination bill, with five Republican senators stopping the measure from going forward.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was set to reconsider the bill after a 5-5 vote Monday that would have killed it without a procedural move to keep it alive. But it was left in limbo Tuesday when it became clear that none of the opponents would switch their vote to a yes.

Democratic Sen. Joseph Abruzzo said it's clear his bill won't advance this year. He vowed to try again next year when there will be new Senate leadership and time to build support for the measure.

By: Mike Vasilinda
February 8, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- For the first time in four decades, Florida lawmakers heard legislation prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender people.

For more than an hour on Monday, Senators asked questions, including whether the legislation would change how people use public restrooms.

Carlos Smith of Equality Florida calls the legislation historic.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it is currently totally legal to refuse service, to refuse housing, or even refuse employment or fire someone simply because they are gay or transgender," says Smith.

Smith says, "This bill finally offers those existing protections under the Florida Civil Rights Act so that everyone is treated fairly.”

The legislation was voted down, but then saved by a parliamentary procedure that could bring the idea back up at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s next meeting.

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