Hope for a vote: Gay protection bill

By : AnitaHeading
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Equality Florida and the group’s legislative allies are pushing hard to bring a bill protecting gays in the workforce to a vote. The clock is ticking—Florida’s 2010 Legislative Session ends in early May.

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (SB 798) would provide non-discrimination protections to LGBTs. On March 26, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee held a historic workshop on the legislation that marked the first time the state’s legislature has discussed putting LGBTs in the state’s civil rights codes.

Right now, the law protects people based on color, race, religion, age, sex, national origin, handicap and marital status. SB 798 would include language adding sexual orientation and gender expression. The protections would cover issues related to employment, housing and public accommodations.

Equality Florida executive director Nadine Smith said that right now, the organization is focused on gathering support from individuals, organizations and the business community.

“The business community is leading the way because they understand that to be competitive, employees have to know that they’ll be rewarded for their competence, not punished due to prejudice,” Smith says. “Now have to get the legislators to understand that this is a common sense measure.”

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