NEW VOTER REGISTRATIONS ARE KEY TO ENDING FLORIDA'S CULTURE WARS
We must invest in our communities to effect lasting change and ensure voter
The recent surge in anti-LGBTQ legislation has cast a shadow over the sunshine state. We have seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric surrounding our community, particularly from the governor's office, the state legislature, and the state's educational and medical boards. We must empower pro-equality voters and their allies in the fight against harmful legislation by facilitating new voter registration and ensuring voter turnout.
Hardly four months into the year, the Human Rights Campaign has already tracked 340 anti-LGBTQ bills across the nation. Despite this strong push for legislation that is harmful to the community, the HRC reports that less than 10 percent of anti-LGBTQ bills in 2022 passed, proving that there is no mass support for such laws. Of course, even a single anti-LGBTQ law can have devastating effects, and it is distressing to witness states like Florida setting the trend for an increasing number and intensity of anti-LGBTQ bills. Still, these 2022 findings indicate that we can prevent harmful legislation from being passed by becoming active participants in our communities.
Florida's 2023 legislative session is setting a dangerous precedent nationally. Among the most alarming anti-LGBTQ bills proposed is HB 1223 / SB 1320, sponsored by Representative Anderson and Senator Yarborough. The bill essentially expands Gov. DeSantis's Parental Rights in Education Act, infamously referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law, seeking to extend restrictions on education regarding sexual orientation and gender identity through eighth grade and prohibiting schools from using inclusive pronouns. What's more, HB 1403 / SB 1580, sponsored by Rep. Rudman, will grant healthcare providers and insurers the right to dubiously discriminate and deny critical medical care based on religious, moral, or ethical beliefs. This is essentially legalizing discrimination. Our organization actively monitors legislation and keeps voters well-informed to combat this wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation.
A recent report projects that the pro-LGBTQ voting bloc will transform the election landscape in the coming decades, accounting for nearly one-in-five (17.8%) voters by 2040. This data is remarkable, considering LGBTQ Americans typically favor candidates who support Democratic-leaning policies. In fact, an HRC poll concluded that LGBTQ voters and their allies overwhelmingly voted for Democratic candidates during the 2022 midterm elections, dissuaded from voting for candidates whose platforms consisted of attacks against LGBTQ people. We can become a part of this cultural shift by acquiring and retaining the LGBTQ vote and that of their allies, thus maximizing our voting potential.