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New bill could end sexual orientation discrimination in Florida

Florida is sending mixed messages when it comes to protecting GLBT rights in the workplace. There are currently no state laws that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. However, about 55 percent of Floridians live in areas that afford GLBT protections through local government intervention, including here in Broward County.

But there are those working to level the playing field statewide. In fact, one Florida legislator recently introduced a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression in all Florida workplaces.

It is known as the Competitive Workforce Act (CWA). If the law were to pass, it would also extend these same protections to public accommodations and housing.

Representative Scott Randolph, who introduced the bill, recently explained why such a law would be morally and economically right. He said: "It is unimaginable that in this day and age, Florida law still allows businesses to fire their employees simply for being who they are. Not only is it wrong, but it also sends a terrible message to a community that has made invaluable contributions to our society, our culture, and our everyday lives."

He added that the CWA will also improve the state's economy by attracting more families, businesses and jobs to Florida.

This legislation is a good idea and long overdue. We are fortunate that more than half of Florida residents already have access to GLBT protections. Now it is time to make equal employment opportunity a uniform law across the state.

Source: WCTV News, "Bill Aimed At Attracting Business & Top Talent To Florida," Oct. 4, 2011

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