Florida Republican submits LGBT anti-discrimination law

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

A Florida state representative has committed to supporting a ban on anti-LGBT workplace discrimination – despite being a Republican.

Alongside a Democratic opponent, Republican lawmaker Holly Raschein this week proposed the Florida Competitive Workforce Act – a bill to eliminate employment discrimination, based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the Miami Herald, she said: “At my core, I feel this is the right thing to do.

“I can be just as conservative as I want to be and still believe in eliminating discrimination of LGBT people.”

Democratic state Senator Joseph Abruzzo will co-sponsor the bill when it is presented in 2016 to the legislative session.

The move is highly surprising as not a single Republican has backed the federal, Democrat-sponsored Equality Act in US Congress, which would outlaw discrimination on a national scale.

The GOP also prevented last year’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act from coming to a vote.

However, as legislation has failed before, the Florida Republican admitted that her bill will likely include compromise on religion – exempting religious businesses from anti-discrimination clauses.

She said: “You can get married in the state of Florida if you are an LGBT person, but you can still get fired.

“Why would I be sponsoring a bill and putting myself out there if there wasn’t a need?

“I’ve got gay friends, gay colleagues, gay acquaintances. I wouldn’t want to see them discriminated against.”

She remains hopeful, referencing both her political peers and leaders as a support system through the process.

Companies and corporations, such as Walt Disney World, Miami Heat and Winn-Dixie, already have praised the legislation.

While the US commission ruled that LGBT discrimination is illegal in the workplace in July, the issue is still being fought on a national level, and the Equality Act is still gaining traction in US Congress.

In particular, some Republican representatives, like Congressman Kevin Cramer, do not even believe such bigotry exists.