Some of Florida’s biggest and most recognizable businesses are standing up for equality with an open letter to Congress.

More than 20 companies signed the letter urging Congress to pass the federal Equality Act, which would modernize civil rights laws by including explicit, permanent protections for LGBT people, as well as women, people of color, and people of all faiths. Signatories include Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, AirBnB, and Lyft.

“Passage of the Equality Act isn’t just the right thing to do 一 it’s the smart thing to do economically,” said Carol Dover, president and CEO of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “As we recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the protections guaranteed under the Equality Act are vital for our state’s restaurant and hospitality industries to remain competitive and welcoming to all so that we can bring back our guests and continue to rebuild and strengthen tourism in the Sunshine State.”

Twenty-nine states do not have laws that explicitly protect LGBT people from discrimination. The Florida Commission on Human Relations 一 the state’s civil rights enforcement agency 一 enforces existing LGBT protections in employment, housing, and public spaces consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County and Florida civil rights law. But LGBT Floridians can still be denied healthcare, removed from a jury, and denied credit. And that’s bad for business.

“As a nationwide employer, the current patchwork approach to non-discrimination policies in this country creates unpredictability and uncertainty for businesses like ours that operate across multiple cities and states,” said Bobby Harris, president and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics. “It is critical that our employees are able to live without fear for their family’s safety, security, and loss of opportunities. Bostock creates an imperative for Congress to act. It’s time to finish the job.”


To read the letter and see the list of businesses who signed on, go to FreedomForAllAmericans.org.