Last week the Miami Herald Editorial Board endorsed a bill that would protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination.
Normally this would not be newsworthy, but the bill has attracted a slew of LGBT opponents, because the legislation leaves out protections in housing and public accommodations.
The Miami Herald, while sympathetic to the LGBT activists who oppose this bill, nevertheless believe it is a step forward.
“We understand the frustration of some in Florida’s LGBTQ community over the incremental nature of the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act, an anti-discrimination measure that prevents employers from discriminating but doesn’t stop businesses or landlords from refusing service to gay and transgender people,” the editorial reads. “It is, without doubt, a half-measure.”
Equality Florida vehemently opposes the bill and claims it leaves the transgender community behind. The organization convinced a handful of national LGBT rights groups to weigh in on the matter last week with a letter reaffirming their support for a comprehensive bill that would protect LGBT people in all three areas – workplace, housing and public accommodations.
In response, a handful of local trans rights groups signed their own letter pushing back against Equality Florida’s opposition and tactics.
“Equality Florida attacked both the bill and SAVE as ‘transphobic,’” the letter reads. “We strongly feel the claim is not only without merit, but an arrogant effort to speak for our community and against our local allies; whom have spent years building personal and professional relationships with each of us, building collaborative efforts to uplift and gain progress on the issues impacting our community.”
The Miami Herald believes Equality Florida’s favored bill, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, has zero chance of passing.
“The [FIWA] legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Gruters — chairman of the Republican Party of Florida — is an important step in the right direction. And it actually has a chance of passing Florida’s conservative legislature,” the editorial continues. “Yet more-comprehensive legislation […] has no chance of passing the state House of Representatives this year. The state’s LGBTQ community should ponder Gruters’ hypothetical question in an interview about his bill: ‘Do you want to pass a bill? Or do you want to make a point?’”
Visit SFGN.com/FIWA to read SFGN’s extensive coverage of this topic.