TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Legislature voted to pass a series of dangerous bills that target and harm the LGBTQ+ community. The list of harmful bills is as follows:
SB 1438 targets the LGBTQ+ community by granting state agencies the power to target LGBTQ+ friendly businesses that host drag performances or similar live entertainment by giving the Department of Business and Professional Regulation discretionary authority to fine, revoke liquor licenses, and even shut down establishments. Additionally, it makes it a crime to admit young people to certain performances, exhibits, plays or shows that the state deems inappropriate, even if the child’s parents think it is appropriate for their family. This bill passed the House and Senate and is headed to Gov. DeSantis for his signature.
SB 254 targets the LGBTQ+ community by prohibiting parents from providing life-saving gender-affirming care for their trans children in Florida and criminalizes healthcare providers who provide this medically safe and appropriate healthcare. It will also make it harder for adults to access care by banning nurse practitioners from providing gender-affirming care, practitioners who provide much of the existing care across Florida. This law will cause massive upheaval in medical care for the transgender community and cause immediate harm to thousands of Floridians of all ages who will lose access to lifesaving medical care. This bill passed the House and Senate and is headed to Gov. DeSantis for his signature.
HB 1521 targets the LGBTQ+ community by perpetuating discrimination and exclusion of transgender people by prohibiting gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities in private businesses, healthcare facilities, schools, public shelters, and jails. This bill passed the House and has yet to be heard by the full Senate.
The ACLU of Florida opposes these bills and their companion bills.
Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today’s votes:
“It is shameful that our Florida Legislature continues to pass dangerous bills designed to silence, harm, and erase trans people in Florida. “These bills directly threaten transgender Floridians’ fundamental human rights and safety. The Florida Legislature’s insistence on targeting trans people is bizarre, unnecessary, unconstitutional, and extremely dangerous.
“All trans people belong and deserve to live with dignity. But these kinds of bills make it impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like everyone else — and it opens the door to abuse and hostile mistreatment. This is state-sanctioned discrimination against Florida’s vibrant trans community.
“These bills, particularly HB 1521, will also negatively impact businesses that want to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all patrons. There is no good way for businesses to enforce these laws without invading everyone’s privacy and freedoms.
“Lawmakers are harming LGBTQ+ youth and families to score political points and unleash an extremist agenda that endangers and stigmatizes communities.
“The time is overdue for Florida legislators to focus on actual problems facing Floridians – the rising cost of living, affordable housing, income security, minimum wage, and adequate health care. Instead, they seek to hide their failure to address these real problems by targeting the LGBTQ+ community.”