Who We Are
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Through lobbying, grassroots organizing, education, and coalition building, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Equality Florida formed in 1997 as Governor Jeb Bush took office and Florida’s state government made a hard turn to the right. In an era of setbacks for progressive causes, Equality Florida has defeated every piece of anti-LGBT legislation filed in Tallahassee for 15 years in a row. These bills included efforts to: overturn all local anti-discrimination policies, repeal all safe schools policies, expand Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban, and prohibit domestic partnership benefits and protections.
Equality Florida actually consists of two organizations - Equality Florida Inc. and sister organization, Equality Florida Institute, Inc. The institute is our 501(c-3) charity organization that focuses of educating the public, elected officials, and businesses about issues of importance to the LGBT community. Donations to Equality Florida Institute, Inc. are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Equality Florida, Inc. is our 501(c-4) non-profit advocacy organization that focuses on: 1) Advocating for and against new laws that impact the lives of LGBT Floridians; and 2) Mobilizing pro-equality voters. Donations to Equality Florida, Inc. are not tax deductible, but they go directly toward supporting our aggressive advocacy and election efforts at the state and local level.
How We're Winning Equality
Because Equality Florida has always existed in a hostile political climate, we know how to carve our victories despite strong opposition. In addition to our work in Tallahassee, we work with our local partners, providing resources and helping to build coalitions that have passed pro-equality laws across the state.
We defend against bad bills and introduce pro-LGBT legislation every single year. Our efforts continue to expand support for our issues across party lines. For 8 years, we led a broad-based coalition that secured the 2008 passage of the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, an anti-bullying law that has resulted in protections from anti-LGBT bullying and harassment for students all across the state.
Equality Florida played a critical role in bringing an end to Florida’s 33-year-old anti-gay adoption ban. In addition to years of public education on the harm caused by the ban, we successfully lobbied the Governor and the Department of Children and Families to immediately end enforcement of the ban and not pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court once the ban was ruled unconstitutional on September 22, 2010.
Under our watch, Florida has led the southeastern United States in passing over 89 local policies outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, banning harassment of LGBT students, and providing domestic partnership benefits to our families. We also lead the region in electing LGBT candidates, with 31 openly LGBT officials holding elected office in Florida as of June, 2013.
Through our continuous public education campaigns, we are winning the battle of public opinion with a strong majority of Floridians now supporting nearly every one of our pro-equality issues. We invite you to take a look at the following pages of Winning Equality and see how prominently Florida stands on the national stage of LGBT equality. Your support makes every one of these victories possible.