Florida is poised to pass a record six expressly anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law this year, more than the last seven years combined
Tallahassee, Florida – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, denounces Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and extremist members of the Florida legislature for advancing a slate of hateful anti-LGBTQ+ bills and proposals attacking the LGBTQ+ community this legislative session.
Florida is poised to pass a record six expressly anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law this year, more than the last seven years combined.
DeSantis’s “Florida Blueprint” is a blueprint of bigotry, designed to terrorize the LGBTQ+ community, scale back our freedoms, and attempt to force us back into the closet. The rights of millions of Floridians are being rolled back by Gov. DeSantis and his allies who – to pander to the most extreme fringes of their base – have proposed more government censorship in classrooms and intrusion in doctor’s offices and bathrooms.
Anti-LGBTQ+ bills sent to Gov. DeSantis’s desk for signature or veto include:
Extreme Gender Affirming Care Ban (SB 254): Even among the crowded field of extreme and damaging bans on best practice, age-appropriate health care, this bill stands out as particularly mean-spirited. SB 254 would give Florida the unprecedented ability to strip parental rights from a supportive parent when the child’s other parent is not supportive. This bill would penalize providers by inflicting criminal penalties (including felony penalties) on providers who give gender-affirming care; it would take licenses away from those providers; and it would prohibit Medicaid from covering gender-affirming care for transgender youth or adults. It would also forbid public funds, including those of a public university, public hospital, city or county, and Medicaid, from being used to provide benefits that include gender-affirming care – for transgender people of all ages. And – uniquely – it allows the state to use gender-affirming care or the “risk” of such care for a child as a reason to give Florida family courts exceptional jurisdiction to set aside another state’s custody determination.
Don't Say LGBTQ+ Expansion Bill (SB 1320): SB 1320 silences educators by prohibiting any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from Pre-K through 8th grade. In an intentional effort to erase transgender and non-binary people from the curriculum, the bill also creates an anti-LGBTQ+ definition of sex based on reproductive function and would force school staff and students to deadname and misgender one another. Florida’s Board of Education also voted to expand Gov. Ron DeSantis’s shameful “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” bill to all grades.
Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill (HB 1521): HB 1521 criminalizes transgender people for using the restroom that matches their gender identity. The bill prohibits gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities in schools, public shelters, healthcare facilities, and jails.
“License to Discriminate” Healthcare Bill (SB 1580): SB 1580 would allow healthcare providers and insurers to deny a patient care on the basis of religious, moral, or ethical beliefs. It creates a license to discriminate by allowing healthcare employers to discriminate in hiring, and it bars medical Boards from disciplining doctors for spreading misinformation.
Preemption bill (SB 170): SB 170 is an effort to discourage cities from passing non-discrimination ordinances by raising the barriers to proposing ordinances and making it easier to challenge ordinances in court. This bill intends to strip municipalities and counties of their self-determination and hamstring their ability to pass and enact laws that best serve their communities.
MAGA Takeover of Higher Ed Bill (SB 266): SB 266 doubles down on Gov. DeSantis’s attacks on academic freedom. The bill would allow the state Board of Governors to give direction to universities on removing majors and minors in subjects like critical race theory and gender studies and would prohibit spending on programs or activities that support such curricula.
Florida’s legislature also passed a memorial statement (S.M. 1382) opposing LGBTQ+ service members, unconscious bias training, and ‘woke’ policies in the military, which do not need the governor’s signature.
Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel released the following statement:
“Gov. Ron DeSantis and extremist legislators in Florida are some of the most anti-LGBTQ+ politicians in America and an existential threat to every LGBTQ+ person in Florida and beyond. DeSantis has made clear that demonizing LGBTQ+ people will be the center of his legislative agenda and presidential run. As a result, the rights of millions of Floridians are being rolled back by politicians who are attacking the LGBTQ+ community at a breakneck pace to pander to the most extreme fringes of their base.
From doctors’ offices to classrooms, they show no shame in assaulting the freedoms of those different from them. They clearly do not care about the well-being of Floridians – and they’re literally removing the right of people to parent as they claim to champion parental rights.
We want to thank the hundreds of advocates who showed up throughout session to testify and bravely tell their stories. The Human Rights Campaign will never stop fighting alongside you, particularly transgender and non-binary children who deserve to live authentic, full lives.”
Last month, the President of HRC Kelley Robinson held a roundtable discussion with Equality Florida – the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's LGBTQ+ community – teachers, parents, and students to slam Gov. DeSantis and Florida legislators for advancing a slate of hateful anti-LGBTQ+ bills and proposals. HRC also deployed mobile billboards at the State Capitol, the Governor’s mansion, the Pride Festival in Tallahassee, and South Beach and took out a full page ad in the Miami Herald slamming DeSantis for his attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
Acting at the behest of the administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine also adopted a politically motivated and discriminatory rule that denies age-appropriate gender-affirming care to Florida's transgender youth. The rule (64B8-9.019) was filed with the Florida Department of State on February 24, 2023 and became effective on March 16, 2023. HRC is one of several organizations representing Florida families challenging the state’s ban on medically necessary healthcare for their transgender children and filed a motion asking the court to halt the ban while their case proceeds. Parents told the federal district court in their motion for a preliminary injunction that the ban is causing their children significant harm through canceled doctors appointments and denials of treatment.
So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 220 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
More than 125 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 13 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Dakota, and Montana
More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,
More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 45 anti-drag performance bills.
In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.
More than 300 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoken out to oppose anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed in states across the country. Major employers in tech, manufacturing, hospitality, health care, retail, and other sectors are joining with a unified voice to say discrimination is bad for business and to call on lawmakers to abandon these efforts. Four of the largest U.S. food companies also condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that recently became law in Arkansas.
According to the latest data this year from PRRI, support for LGBTQ+ rights is on the rise in Florida and nationwide: 80% of Florida residents support nondiscrimination protections, and 66% of Florida residents oppose refusal of service on religious grounds. About eight in ten Americans (80%) favor laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. This reflects a dramatic increase in the proportion of Americans who support nondiscrimination protections since 2015, when it was 71%.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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