If you've been following the news lately, you've probably heard about anti-LGBTQ laws recently passed in Mississippi and North Carolina.
At this critical juncture for our movement, there is no mistaking anymore: the LGBTQ community is under attack nationwide.
These laws, which criminalize bathroom use by transgender people and sanction discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians and Mississippians, are similar to proposals SAVE beat back in the Florida legislature in 2015 and 2016.
What we warned lawmakers would happen in Florida has come to pass in North Carolina, where companies like PayPal, Lionsgate and Deutsche Bank have cut hundreds of jobs in response to the hastily-passed HB2 there.
The same is happening in Mississippi, where official state-funded travel has been banned by a growing list that includes New York and Washington states.
Representing one of the leading municipalities in the nation on the issue of LGBTQ rights, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wasted no time this afternoon by introducing at the City Commission a key resolution to join those pro-equality jurisdictions suspending business ties with North Carolina and Mississippi. The resolution passed with unanimous cosponsorship.
We commend Mayor Levine and his colleagues for taking this swift action, which will assuredly help bolster the nationwide movement to overturn these awful, discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ, anti-trans laws.
In response to the avalanche of criticism in the wake of the economic disaster caused by North Carolina's discriminatory HB2 law, Governor Pat McCrory has issued what his office is calling an "executive order" which does nothing to correct the damage done when he signed the law in the first place.
Governor McRory should realize that the voters aren't fooled by his political games -- equality for LGBTQ people isn't a game, and the economic well-being of an entire state shouldn't be a game either. There will be no justice until the people of North Carolina achieve full repeal of HB2.
While similar proposals are dead in Tallahassee for now in part due to SAVE's work, you can be sure extremist anti-LGBTQ opponents will continue to push these awful bills.
We must remain vigilant and ready to make our voices heard when the time comes -- and we must give our all to support pro-equality leaders like those who stood up today in Miami Beach.
Thank you for your support.
SAVE Action PAC is proud to endorse Carlos Gimenez for re-election as Mayor of Miami-Dade County in the August 30 election!
Mayor Gimenez’s support for nondiscrimination protections was crucial in 2014 when we won those protections for transgender folks at the Miami-Dade County Commission after a hard-fought campaign.
That key support makes us proud to have endorsed Carlos Gimenez as the pro-equality candidate in 2012 -- and he has continued to make us proud in his service to all Miamians as Mayor these past four years. SAVE Action PAC is pleased to again endorse Mayor Gimenez for re-election in August 2016.
“It’s been an honor to stand with Miami-Dade’s LGBT community as Mayor of this great county,” said Gimenez in a nod to the endorsement by SAVE Action PAC in his first campaign in 2012, which was widely cited as key to his victory that year.
“I've made a commitment to serve ALL Miamians, and one of my proudest legacies as Mayor will be the historic strides toward equality that we made together during my first term on issues like nondiscrimination protections for transgender folks," he recounted, "and I hope to cement that pro-equality legacy by continuing to defend LGBTQ rights during my second term as Mayor."
Since his election, the LGBTQ movement both nationwide and locally has achieved some of its greatest victories, such as the passage of comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in Miami-Dade County, as well as court victories in SAVE's 2014 marriage equality case in Florida and for nationwide marriage advocates at the Supreme Court in 2015.
However, in response to these victories, the movement for LGBTQ equality has come under some of the fiercest backlash in its history. Amid widely publicized resistance to marriage equality such as that of Kim Davis in Ketucky, SAVE fought back repeated attempts by Florida lawmakers to pass anti-LGBTQ bills during the 2015-2016 legislative session, including a proposal which would criminalize the use of restrooms by transgender Floridians as well as one which would legally sanction discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians.
In contrast, Mayor Gimenez has repeatedly gone on record during his first term in enthusiastic support of proposals that would ensure that all residents of Miami-Dade County are treated equally and respectfully -- and he has not shied away from defending those proposals from hateful attacks by extremist opponents of equality.
"When we added nondiscrimination protections for transgender folks, the argument was that, oh, now we are going to have a public safety issue in our bathrooms," he told a gathering of SAVE supporters in March, referring to the red herring posed by opponents of inclusive nondiscrimination laws that such proposals create a so-called "loophole" for male predators to enter public facilities designated for women with the intent of committing a sex crime.
The reality is that this behavior is already illegal, and furthermore has never been recorded in the hundreds of American state and local jurisdictions which have passed nondiscrimination protections -- including Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and various other local jurisdictions in Florida.
"You know how many public safety incidents we have recorded in restrooms related to passing these protections?" he asked, as he gestured the 'zero' symbol. "None," he answered emphatically, "and I know that Miami-Dade County has been made stronger by protecting all of its residents from discrimination."
In his State of the County speech at FIU in February 2015, Gimenez also cited his record in support of LGBTQ equality. “I was proud to stand with commissioners who voted to protect our transgender residents in December of last year,” he said, “and welcomed the court rulings that finally gave adults the right to marry whomever they choose.”
For more information about where to vote, when to vote, and how to register to vote, please visit: save.lgbt/vote.
Thanks for your support!
SAVE is proud to announce our partnership with Lyft, which is bringing all of us together by giving us the freedom to go where we want, when we want.
In encouraging its drivers and riders to "Ride with Pride" across the country, Lyft stands with SAVE and the LGBTQ community in support of equality for ALL Floridians and Americans.
Never rode with Lyft before?
Lyft gives us more options for getting around town than ever before -- wherever you’re headed, count on Lyft for rides in minutes. The Lyft app matches you with local drivers at the tap of a button. Just request and go.
Lyft is the newest member of SAVE's Equality Network of businesses committed to workplace equality.
In demonstration of its commitment to equality in the workplace for all LGBTQ Floridians, we are proud to announce that Lyft has signed on as an Equality Defender sponsor of Champions of Equality 2016.
Ride with Pride with Lyft to Champions of Equality 2016!
Stay tuned for more announcements and promotions to come from our partnership with Lyft! Thanks for your support!
Download the Lyft app now:
BUY YOUR TICKETS TO CHAMPIONS OF EQUALITY 2016:
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Yesterday, the Florida State Senate Rules Committee voted to move ahead on the so-called "pastor protection" bill making the rounds in Tallahassee.
The bill deflects attention towards an invented problem -- that LGBTQ people are "forcing" clergy to marry them -- rather than towards the problems that Floridians face every day. In one of the last hurdles to becoming law, the bill heads next to a vote before the full Florida Senate.
Let's be absolutely clear: pastors and clergy have always had the right to decide who their houses of worship will and won’t marry. The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom makes that clear.
We thank Rules Committee Vice Chair Darren Soto, as well as his colleagues Senators Audrey Gibson and Bill Montford, for voting NO on this unnecessary distraction from the real issue at hand: the need for protections from discrimination for ALL Floridians.
With your help, we can make sure that pro-equality policies prevail before the Florida state legislature in the next session and beyond. Sign up to volunteer at a SAVE phone bank or canvass today. >>
Late yesterday, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee voted to end consideration of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA). Although this is a missed opportunity to take what would have been a huge step towards the passage of statewide workplace equality, we are nonetheless very proud that we were able to secure a hearing for this bill at all.
With the FCWA introduced without being considered for the past ten years (!), yesterday's hearing was a long time coming. We'd like to give a special shoutout to Miami's own Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Chairman of the Florida State Senate Judiciary Committee, for meeting with leaders from the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition and SAVE and taking the historic step of putting this proposal to a vote for the first time ever.
We also thank Senator Diaz de la Portilla and his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, Senators Jeremy Ring, Arthenia Joyner, David Simmons, and Darren Soto for voting YES to move the bill ahead. And of course, we thank Senator Joe Abruzzo of Palm Beach County and Representative Holly Raschein of South Dade and the Keys for sponsoring this proposal in their respective houses of the state legislature.
So, what's next?
Make no mistake -- the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition and SAVE will return next year to continue pushing lawmakers to pass the FCWA.
While we're disappointed at the result, yesterday's vote gives us hope for the future of employment discrimination protections in Florida. The vote failed because of a tie -- which means the Competitive Workforce Act is SO CLOSE to majority support in Tallahassee!
YOU can help make sure we come back to Tallahassee stronger than ever in 2017! Will you help SAVE take the voters' pro-equality message to Tallahassee next year? Help SAVE make sure our leaders hear us loud and clear by donating today. >>
With your help, we can make sure that pro-equality policies like the Florida Competitive Workforce prevail before the Florida state legislature the next time around. Help us come back to Tallahassee stronger than ever in 2017 by donating to SAVE today! >>
Thank you for your support!
Senator Travis Hutson Becomes Second Republican to Co-Introduce Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act in the Senate
Florida Senator Travis Hutson of Palm Coast today joined Florida Senator Jack Latvala of Clearwater in becoming the second GOP Senator to co-introduce the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, a bill aimed at protecting Florida’s LGBT community against discrimination in the workplace, public housing and accommodations. Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo of Boynton Beach and House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein of the Keys, if passed, would update the Civil Rights Act of 1992.
“Thank you to Sen. Travis Hutson for his leadership and support of this pro-business, anti-discrimination legislation,” said Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition Campaign Manager Patrick Slevin. “To have two Republican Senators, and nine GOP House members leading the effort to ensure Florida remains competitive in the global marketplace is very encouraging as we head into the second week of Session.”
"The LGBTQ community still lacks non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations," added Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE, South Florida's top LGBTQ advocacy organization and a key member of the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition. "These fundamental areas of our lives, that many of us take for granted never having to fear being treated unfairly, are the corner stones of the freedom and opportunities that the American Dream lends to us."
“I have always been a vocal supporter of this pro-business issue and believe there is a fundamental flaw in a society that condones the firing of someone simply because they are LGBT,” said Sen. Hutson. “I am pleased to join Sen. Latvala and my colleagues in the House to co-sponsor this very important piece of legislation. While there are some concerns I have for others to sue unjustifiably, I am confident that will be addressed through the committee process.”
Republican members in the House signing onto HB 45 include Reps. Heather Fitzenhagen, Tom Goodson, Bill Hager, Chris Latvala, Mike Miller, Kathleen Peters, Ray Pilon and Rene Plasencia.
While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. The Competitive Workforce Act aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.
Click the graphic below to read more about our accomplishments in 2015!
Last Thursday, SAVE Foundation was proud to christen its new ‘Equality Network’ initiative to build a coalition of businesses in support of workplace equality in Florida. The LGBTQ group inaugurated the network at an event at FIU’s Frost Art Museum on Thursday featuring U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo and CEO Mike Valdes-Fauli of the marketing firm Pinta, among other noted attendees.
Emphasizing inclusion as a key business value, Rep. Curbelo, who represents suburban Miami-Dade County and recently joined the U.S. House LGBT Equality Caucus, spoke of the need not just for policy change, but for broader cultural change in order to create a more competitive business and labor environment in Florida.
“Sometimes we’re tempted to change a rule or check a box and say we’ve achieved diversity,” he told the gathering of business owners and local leaders. “But businesses that truly value inclusion -- they think a variety of points of view are a good thing, and they’re primed to compete in the economy of the future.”
The event, a SAVE Foundation initiative in partnership with the Miami Young Republicans, the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, inaugurated the organization’s new Equality Network of businesses in support of workplace equality and a more competitive economy for Florida.
“Businesses need to know that we can make Florida’s workforce more competitive for the future by striving for an equal workplace,” SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima told attendees, “and I’m proud that after today we will already count more than 30 members in the Equality Network.”
Mike Valdes-Fauli, CEO of the cross-cultural marketing firm Pinta, echoed that sentiment as a featured speaker alongside Curbelo. "I can tell you through my firsthand experience at Pinta and in the business world that equality as a business value is not only the right thing to do, but it's also great for your bottom line," he told attendees, "and so I urge all businesses that aim to compete in today's global and diverse economy to join important initiatives like SAVE's Equality Network."
SAVE Foundation invites all local businesses owners of South Florida to join the Equality Network. Those interested in joining are urged to email SAVE's Equality Network at email@example.com.