TICK, TOCK: Time Is Running Out For Governor Scott To Protect LGBTQ State Employees
TALLAHASSEE - Today, Equality Florida joined advocates and former LGBTQ state workers to hand-deliver nearly 3,000 letters - written by Floridians across the state using the volunteer-run app Resistbot - to Governor Rick Scott, calling on him to keep his promise to enact LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections for state employees. Action from Governor Scott has become even more urgent after news of another proposed attack on transgender rights by the Trump Administration was reported by the New York Times on Sunday.
Prior to the delivery in the Florida State Capitol, Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer, former state worker Barry Munroe, Pulse massacre survivor Brandon Wolf, and other community leaders came together to call out Rick Scott’s inaction to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Florida. The full live-coverage of the press gathering can be viewed on Equality Florida’s Facebook page.
“Governor Scott has said that state employees should not be discriminated against in any way, but he has done nothing to protect the LGBTQ community. Words are not enough, we want action,” said Jon Harris Maurer. “This is his administration’s last chance to do right by the LGBTQ community.”
"What shocks me in 2018 is that I am standing here in the Florida State Capitol, begging my governor to treat us like first-class citizens while the Trump Administration tries to erase trans people all together," said Brandon Wolf. "Since June 12, 2016, we've had one mantra and that is #HonorThemWithAction. Not words, not delay tactics, not excuses, not empty promises. Time is running out for Governor Scott to do something."
"For our state workers to do their best serving the people of Florida every day, they need to be focused on their job and not worried about being fired or held back for being LGBTQ," said Barry Monroe.
In the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Governor Scott sent his staff to meet face to face with Equality Florida leaders. The Governor’s Chief of Staff made a commitment to swift action on an Executive Order protecting LGBTQ state workers and contractors from discrimination - a step the Governor could take unilaterally, without awaiting legislative approval. After year of delays and excuses, Governor Scott made clear he was not going to honor that promise. Under pressure from the media, he began to assert that an Executive Order was unnecessary because existing federal protections were sufficient.
Scott has taken heat for refusing to honor his promise from across the political spectrum. Nearly 80% of self-identified conservative Florida voters say Governor Scott should keep his promise on the Executive Order, according to a University of Florida poll.*
On Monday, October 1, Equality Florida filed a petition to compel the Rick Scott administration to establish the LGBTQ protections that the Governor’s staff committed to but has failed to enact for more than two years. Now, time is running out for Governor Scott to keep his promise to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in state employment.
The Petition for Rulemaking is based on the Department of Management Service’s responsibility to develop uniform personnel rules for state workers and its authority to adopt rules to recruit and maintain an effective workforce, including policies for employee hiring and advancement. Governor Rick Scott’s administration has just over a week to provide a final answer on whether it will protect state workers, based on a statutory 30-day deadline to respond from the filing date of the petition.
*University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, “Strong Conservative Support For Governor Scott To Keep His Promise To Protect LGBT State Workers And Contractors” (May 2, 2018) available at https://www.bebr.ufl.edu/survey/articles/strong-conservative-support-governor-scott-keep-his-promise-protect-lgbt-state.