Governor Scott Fails To Mention Pulse Attack Targeted LGBTQ & Latinx Communities In State of the State Address
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director, Hannah Willard, provided the following statement in response to Governor Rick Scott’s annual State of the State Address.
“This morning Governor Rick Scott made the Pulse tragedy a centerpiece in his annual State of the State Address. While we are glad the governor spotlighted the Pulse tragedy, we are deeply disappointed that when talking about the worst anti-LGBTQ attack in our nation’s history, our governor failed to acknowledge the LGBTQ community in any way. Governor Scott spoke about the horror our state experienced in the wake of the attack, the heroism of Orlando’s first responders, and the pain of families who lost loved ones. What we didn't hear was any mention of the LGBTQ community targeted in this murderous rampage which occurred on Latin night.
In order to truly honor the 49 people killed, the 53 injured, and the countless traumatized at Pulse, our elected leaders must take action to uproot the hatred and bigotry that fueled this attack. Governor Scott talked at length about fighting for Florida’s families. He spoke glowingly about hoping that all children, no matter where they're from, will be able to have their chance at the American dream here in Florida. We share that hope. But we know that we must also address the prejudice against LGBTQ people that is still alive and well in our state. We firmly believe that LGBTQ children, no matter who they are or who they love, deserve to grow up in a state that will defend and protect them from discrimination of all kinds.
Unfortunately, under Florida law it remains legal to fire LGBTQ people, evict us from our homes, and deny us service at a public business just because of who we are. When our own state government fails to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, it sends a message that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is acceptable and it plants the seeds for future hate violence against us.
We urge Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to honor those killed in Orlando with action by ensuring that LGBTQ Floridians are treated fairly and equally under the laws of our state. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (HB 623/SB 666), a bipartisan bill that already has 38 Republican and Democrat cosponsors in the House and Senate, would simply add sexual orientation and gender identity to Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, ensuring that all LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces.
Passing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act is not only the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do for our economy. Governor Scott emphasized the need to incentivize businesses to relocate to Florida, and that we must do whatever we can to attract the best and brightest workforce. Recent studies prove the Florida Competitive Workforce Act would do exactly that and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in our state without costing taxpayers anything. We urge the Florida Legislature to move equality forward in our state by passing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, encouraging economic growth, and ensuring that all Floridians have the opportunity to live, work, and play in our state.”