LGBTQ activists call for more protection from Scott

Rainbow flag, Photo Date: June 30, 2013
Rainbow flag, Photo Date: June 30, 2013(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 23, 2017 at 4:41 PM EDT
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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service

June 23, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- LBGTQ activists say Governor Rick Scott broke his promise to do more to protect against discrimination after the Pulse night club shootings.

Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the shooting, says even in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in recent history, little to no progress has been made in the state.

"If somebody out there in the private sector didn't realize that I identified as LGBTQ, they could see this interview and I could lose my job," Wolf said. "I could lose my home. I could be denied access to public accommodations. That's appalling."

Florida law does not protect LGBTQ individuals from employment discrimination.

Activists with Equality Florida say the Governor promised an executive order to extend protections to state employees and contractors, but has since pulled back.

The Governor's Office has issued a statement explaining why the order never became reality.

"In accordance with federal guidelines," the order says in part, "Florida state agencies do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation."

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith says Scott's statement isn't backed up by solid legislation or policy.

"It requires explanation, it requires proof and he needs to answer why he has not delivered on the executive order that was promised," Smith said.

At least 11 counties and 33 cities in Florida have passed their own local ordinances offering employment protections to LGBTQ individuals in both the private and public sector.

20 states have also adopted policies to protect the LGBTQ community from employment and housing discrimination.

The lack of explicit language in Florida policy means traditional routes of discrimination protection don’t exist for LGBTQ state employees, but civil suits may be filed against an employer if a person were terminated due to their sexual orientation under EEOC guidelines.