Proposed law in Florida would make it legal to refuse to serve gay people

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A lawmaker in Florida has tabled a bill that would permit people to refuse to serve people because they are gay.

Republican state rep. Julio Gonzalez introduced the so-called ‘religious freedom’ law, which would allow small businesses to reject LGBT people on ‘conscience’ grounds.

The law would amend existing law to clarify that religious-owned businesses will “not required to produce, create, or deliver a product or service that would be contrary to the religious or moral convictions or policies”.

It also includes provisions that would allow adoption agencies to reject gay people, and could potentially also extend to areas such as hospital care.

Gonzalez claimed: “There have been various situations where there are increasing possibilities of subsections of society having their religious freedoms encroached on. Over time it became obvious to me we need to adopt some statutory protections.”

Matt McTighe of Freedom for All Americans warned: “HB 401 uses a thinly veiled guise of religion to justify denying services to people in need at hospitals, adoption agencies, and other important institutions that Floridians use every day.

“It’s cruel to deny any child the opportunity to be welcomed into a loving, supporting family, just because they or a parent might be gay or transgender.

“It’s wrong to refuse potentially life-saving medical care to a person who has been in an accident simply because they are LGBT. This bill goes too far and would make Florida a worse place for everyone.”