LGBT Floridians hope for progress despite election losses

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Written by: Margie Menzel

The 2014 election wasn't a good one for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

LGBT organizations supported Democrats Charlie Crist for governor and George Sheldon for attorney general, but both lost. So did state Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando, one of the first two openly gay members of the Legislature, elected in 2012.

But despite those losses, some supporters are hoping for movement on a bill, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, that would ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation. It was Saunders' bill, but now it will be sponsored by a Republican lawmaker, Rep. Holly Raschein of Key Largo.

"It's my hope that my colleagues will see it as a bipartisan issue," Raschien told The News Service of Florida this week. "I never look at equality as a partisan issue, personally. Being a Republican is about freedom and liberty. This is quite a conservative principle, if you ask me."

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