January 23, 2019

Unequal Protection Under the Law

Florida’s anti-discrimination policy discriminates against LGBTQ Floridians

by Susan E. Stutz

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There are two significant events in which Florida doesn’t always fully participate: winter and true democracy. The latter fact having been proven once again in Governor Desantis’ Executive Order 19–10, Reaffirming Commitment to Diversity in Government.

What happened:

Desantis’ executive order reaffirms protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, marital status, and/or physical disability. All of those groups are significant and deserve protection, but the omission is glaring. The group to which he fails to make a commitment is the LGBTQ community. Two years post-Pulse tragedy, and the message could not be clearer: Our friends and loved ones who identify as LGTBQ cannot and should not look to this administration for protection.

What also happened:

Maybe she planned it from the start and maybe it was a metaphorical middle-finger, but on January 17 — a mere week after Desantis’ executive order — Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried amended the Department’s Discrimination Policy Statement to expressly include protections for the LGBTQ members of her staff.

Now what:

If we have learned nothing else in the past two years, we certainly know that discrimination is alive and well in the good ‘ole US-of-A. And, there are those who will use any opportunity presented to them to discriminate against individuals with whom they disagree. With what amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card, Desantis’ order makes for dangerous policy.

The actions on the part of Florida leadership could not be more demonstrative of the polarizing politics in which the entire country finds itself. Depending upon which department you work in, as a member of the LGTBQ family, you may or may not be a protected class and thus subject to blatant discrimination.

Tell Governor Desantis what you think

Do you want Desantis to include the LGBTQ as a class of people protected from discrimination? You can write to him about this or any other topic by sending the word governor to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text resist to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to do something great. And, stay tuned because soon you’ll be able to write to your other state officials just like your Members of Congress.

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