The state lawmakers — Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Sen. Dennis Baxley, Rep. Bob Rommel, Sen. Joe Gruters, Rep Michael Grant, Sen. Keith Perry, and Rep. Byron Donalds — together introduced the four pieces of legislation, each with a companion bill in the House and the Senate.
even Republican lawmakers in Florida filed anti-LGBTQ bills late Monday, just hours before the deadline to file new bills for the coming legislative session.
NBC News reports “the bills would ban gender-affirming health care for transgender children, repeal municipal and county ordinances protecting LGBTQ workers, and legalize so-called gay conversion therapy in places that had banned the medically debunked practice.”
Rep. Shevrin Jones, one of Florida’s openly LGBTQ lawmakers, said in a statement that it is “shameful that Republican lawmakers are wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.”
“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity,” Jones wrote. “Just as I’ve done since I was elected in 2012, I will continue to fight any legislation that marginalizes or threatens any Floridian’s shot at a secure, safe, and bright quality of life.”
Equality Florida, also decried the late-session bill dump.
“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Jon Harris Maurer, the group’s public policy director, said in a press release. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”
But Florida isn’t the only state to kick off 2020 with a homophobic bang. Lawmakers in Tennessee kicked off the new year by passing a new measure that grants religious adoption agencies the legal right to discriminate against same-sex couples.