October 4, 2019-
In much of Florida, your boss can fire you, or choose not to hire you, for being gay, bisexual or transgender. More than four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage to be legal, blatant discrimination is perfectly legal. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, backed by big business, is — again — trying to change that. Multiple legislators have introduced bills for the 2020 legislative session that would prohibit businesses from discriminating against their employees on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Both Senate Bill 206, sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and House Bill 161 would amend the state’s Civil Rights Act of 1992 to prohibit such discrimination. (The act already prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age or handicap.) The bills also would prohibit businesses and landlords from discriminating for those same reasons, but the language allows for discrimination for religious reasons. For nearly a decade, lawmakers have tried to pass an anti-LGBTQ-discrimination bill, but the efforts have found little traction in Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature.