Today, State Representative Javier Fernandez (D-Miami) filed a companion bill to Senator Joe Gruters’ Florida Inclusive Workforce Act (SB438) in the House. Representative Fernandez’s sponsorship gives the FIWA an opportunity to be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Representative Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) will be the prime co-sponsor validating bipartisan support in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. As part of its growing legislative momentum, house legislators have quickly voiced their support of FIWA as co-sponsors.
LGBTQ Leaders Join SAVE in Lauding a Bi-Partisan Approach in Passing the Florida Inclusion Workforce Act (FIWA)
Today, Florida State Senator Joe Gruters introduced a Senate Bill to protect LGBTQ Floridians from discrimination in the workplace. The Florida Inclusion Workforce Act (FIWA) focuses on ensuring that Florida remains competitive in retaining the best talent in its workforce by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Florida’s Civil Rights Act, helping to strengthen Florida’s economic future.
"Thanks to the efforts of Senator Gruters, the LGBTQ community has a new champion in the Florida Senate. Protecting our LGBTQ community from discrimination in Florida will take a bi-partisan effort that SAVE believes is the winning pathway for the LGBTQ community," said Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE. "Years of partisan attacks have killed any potential success for a comprehensive non-discrimination bill in Tallahassee," said Lima
Legislation to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations was initially introduced in 2007 but failed to hit the Senate floor. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act followed in 2009 but unfortunately, in the past nine legislative sessions, the bill failed to be heard in the Florida House of Representatives. In 2015, there was one hearing in the Senate, which failed to pass.
"For the past decade, passing protections for the LGBTQ community have not been a legislative priority," said former State Representative David Richardson. "Continuing to rely on a failed strategy and a bill that has floundered no longer makes sense."
"Senator Gruters’ bill is sharply focused on the key economic discrimination faced by LGBTQ Floridians – discrimination in the workplace," said retired judge Rand Hoch, President, and Founder of Palm Beach Human Rights Council. "Achieving this first step will open the door enabling us to then move forward with protecting our community in every part of Florida and in all areas of our lives."
"Policy change is often incremental," acknowledged Richardson. "I applaud Senator Gruters' for his fresh approach which is fully inclusive of the LGBT community."
As one of his first initiatives as State Representative for District 113, Michael Grieco filed House Bill 109 to ban conversion therapy against LGBTQ minors in our State.
SAVE applauds State Representative Michael Grieco for continuing the legacy that former State Representative David Richardson began. Although Richardson’s conversion therapy bill was stifled in 2014 and for several years after, it led to SAVE partnering with Representative Richardson to successfully pass ordinances to ban conversion therapy across nineteen local municipalities and in Broward County from 2015 to 2018, helping raise awareness of this important issue that affects our most vulnerable youth.
“Most people would be shocked that this pseudoscientific attempt at brainwashing is still legal in forty-one states including Florida. Now is the time for Floridians to recognize that we need to protect our LGBTQ youth from what is essentially legalized child abuse,” -State Representative Michael Grieco
"I was happy to hear Representative Grieco filed a legislative bill on conversion therapy today. I first filed a bill in 2014 to ban this nonsensical “therapy,” and though the bill was not heard I partnered with SAVE to further the conversation and educated many people about this horrific practice. I’m looking forward to the day when conversion therapy is banned all over the state of Florida." -Former Representative David Richardson.
Florida became the first state to introduce legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in the 2019 legislative session when Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez filed a Bill in the Senate.
Representative Grieco is committed to continuing his strong pro-equality track record as a former Miami Beach Commissioner in his new role as State Representative, and will continue to carry David Richardson’s legacy in making LGBTQ rights a top legislative priority for Florida.
As we wake up this morning, let us celebrate the change that took place across our beautiful country last night. Although we may be feeling the sting of painful losses, there are silver linings that fuel our hope and move us forward.
A group of more than one hundred diverse women was elected to Congress, including our own Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and we won the House back, ensuring the checks and balances set forth in our Constitution. These are all strides to be celebrated among others: Colorado has its first openly gay Governor, the first openly gay Native American House member was elected, and Massachusetts voters passed a ballot measure that protects our transgender family.
We worked tirelessly in Florida and despite Mayor Gillum's narrow loss and some defeats in other key races, we've achieved major strides on behalf of you and our community, with several wins ushering in continued progress and inspiration. From the restoration of voting rights to disenfranchised individuals to Congressional upsets and solid wins in the Legislature, coupled by successful elections of strong candidates at the Municipal level, our movement is fortified and continues to strengthen throughout South Florida.
Below please find the listing of those with whom we celebrate today.
US Senator - Bill Nelson
Congress 18 - Lauren Baer
Congress 23 - Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Congress 25 - Mary Barzee Flores
Congress 26 - Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Congress 27 - Donna Shalala
WASHINGTON, September 26, 2018 — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, and SAVE, South Florida's foremost advocate for the LGBTQ community, announced their endorsements of Donna Shalala (D) in her bid to represent the people of Florida’s 27th Congressional District. Shalala is running to replace outgoing champion of equality Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), who is retiring from office at the end of her term.
“Donna Shalala is a proven leader who will stand up to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and help pull the emergency brake on their reckless agenda,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “With the experience and commitment needed to move LGBTQ equality forward, Donna will reject the politics of discrimination and fight for all of the hard-working families in her district, across the state of Florida, and throughout the country. HRC is proud to endorse Donna Shalala for U.S. Congress.”
In his fourth season with the Miami Dolphins, Kenny Stills has consistently utilized his position as a professional athlete to make an impact on and off the field. Stills has been a pioneer among athletes in addressing societal issues. The team captain has participated in every player driven community event for the last two seasons and helped organize a town hall meeting in 2016 that brought influential local leaders together with law enforcement to discuss actionable steps to address issues of racial inequality. Stills has won SAVE's admiration and respect for being one of the most visible Dolphins in the community and a strong advocate to protest against racial inequality and systemic oppression.
“Retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is leaving behind a long legacy of championing LGBTQ equality, and we are proud to be supporting Donna Shalala to continue that legacy,” said SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima. “It is beyond doubt that Donna is the most qualified candidate in this race. She is ready to be our next champion in D.C. on day one.”
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign and SAVE, two organizations that have fought so hard for equality in Miami-Dade and around the country,” said Donna Shalala. “Though we’ve come so far in achieving basic equal rights for LGBTQ Americans, there is still much work to be done, and I look forward to getting to Congress to continue fighting.”
Donna E. Shalala has spent her entire career fighting to improve the lives of others. The former president of the University of Miami, she has advocated tirelessly for women’s rights, civil rights, increased access to health care, better education and schools and a clean, sustainable environment. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years, becoming the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history. In Congress, Shalala has pledged to support the Equality Act — critically important federal legislation that would finally add clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people to our nation's civil rights laws.
In Florida, HRC has identified nearly 700,000 LGBTQ voters and more than 3.2 million “Equality Voters” — meaning they are strong supporters of progressive LGBTQ policies including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Last year, HRC announced a coast-to-coast campaign to mobilize these voters for the midterm elections called HRC Rising, which represents the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.
MIAMI, FL, September 20, 2018 — With less than 50 days until the critical 2018 midterm elections, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — America's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, SAVE — South Florida's foremost advocate for the LGBTQ community, and Equality Florida — the largest civil rights organization working to secure full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, will join Mayor Andrew Gillum and other key leaders and allies on Monday to make an important campaign announcement about LGBTQ support for Andrew Gillum’s historic bid to become governor.
WHAT: LGBTQ Rally & Special Campaign Announcement
DATE: Monday, September 24, 2018
WHEN: 3:00 PM - Speaking Agenda Begins
WHERE: SAVE Headquarters 1951 NW 7 Ave Miami, FL 33136
WHO: Andrew Gillum, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Florida
Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign
Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE
Nadine Smith, President and CEO of Equality Florida
Throughout his public service career, Mayor Andrew Gillum has proven to be a staunch advocate for Florida’s LGBTQ community. Before same-sex marriage was the law of the land, Gillum fought to expand domestic partner benefits for city employees. As Mayor of Tallahassee, Gillum strongly opposed counties that sought to undermine marriage equality by extending invitations to Florida same-sex couples to marry in the state capital. As governor, Gillum will continue to be a leader in the fight to advance full equality and protections for LGBTQ Floridians in the sunshine state.
In the general election, Gillum will be facing anti-LGBTQ extremist Ron DeSantis. DeSantis has eagerly embraced the rhetorical and policy attacks on LGBTQ Americans from the Trump-Pence administration and has consistently scored abysmally on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard -- which measures members’ of Congress support for LGBTQ equality and policies.
SAVE is recognized as South Florida’s leading organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending the rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) against discrimination. Since 1993, SAVE has advocated for equal rights through political advocacy, community outreach, and education. Starting with the landmark passage of Miami's Human Rights Ordinance in 1998 to the work spearheaded by SAVE and the ACLU which resulted in marriage equality in Florida in 2015, SAVE continues to lead the fight for LGBTQ equality. SAVE’s vision is to ensure that people in Florida who are LGBTQ have full equality in all facets of life.
About Human Rights Campaign
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.
Senator Bill Nelson has been a long time Champion of Equality since first being elected in 2000. His strong pro-LGBT voting record includes voting to add sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes, repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and signing on as a sponsor to the Equality Act. He believes that "the civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all. Thus, to discriminate against one class and not another is wrong for me."
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz also has a proven pro-equality track record since she was first elected in 2004. She has supported bills such as ENDA and the Equality Act, co-sponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and fought a Republican-controlled Congress from banning gay marriage. She has stated, "I am proud to stand with the LGBT community in the fight to make the United States a more just and equal nation, and to defend LGBT rights wherever and whenever they are threatened around the globe."
Election day is November 6th.