Just days after President Trump signed an executive order that raised major concerns about religion being used as a license to discriminate, the Florida House passed overly broad religious expression legislation - SB436. Known as the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act", this legislation would, in part, require school districts to adopt a limited public forum policy, potentially allowing student speakers to make anti-LGBTQ statements, masked as religious expression, at official school events.
While the freedom of religion is fundamental to our values in this country, this bill goes far beyond the First Amendment protections afforded to all students and teachers, and could create unsafe situations for students who are religious minorities, who identify as LGBTQ, or who are non-religious. Because of the potential for abuse, HRC and Equality Florida today expressed concern if this legislation is signed into law. The bill now heads to Governor Rick Scott for his signature or veto.
As we have all legislative session, HRC will continue to support the work of Equality Florida as we monitor and oppose legislation that negatively impacts LGBTQ equality in Florida. We expect the Florida legislature will adjourn soon, hopefully later this week.