Past time for Scott to honor vow to act against LGBT discrimination

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'Last month Gov. Rick Scott issued a proclamation declaring June 12 Pulse Remembrance Day “in recognition of the 49 innocent lives lost in the horrific attack on Pulse nightclub” in Orlando a year earlier. He directed state flags to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset and asked state residents to pause for a moment of silence.

It was a welcome gesture, but far too transitory for a tragedy that the governor acknowledged “left a solemn impact on our state that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.” A more enduring response from Scott would have been an executive order barring discrimination against LGBT Floridians, the class of people so brutally targeted in the Pulse massacre.

Such an order from Scott is long past due. Representatives with Equality Florida, a statewide organization that promotes LGBT rights, first appealed to the governor’s staff in a meeting a month after the massacre to bar discrimination by state agencies and companies that contract with the state against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Equality Florida representatives said they were repeatedly told in follow-up conversations with the governor’s staff that an order was in the works — an account the staff has not disputed. But this week the governor’s press secretary suggested the order was unnecessary. “In accordance with federal guidelines, Florida state agencies do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and state employees should not be discriminated against in any way,” wrote Lauren Schenone.'

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