Florida is going through its own version of the ENDA-T battle.
Legislation that would prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians in employment, housing and public accommodations throughout Florida passed a key Senate committee on Tuesday. With the support of both Democrats and Republicans the Senate Commerce Committee approved the bill by a vote of 7 to 1.
“Today’s vote is truly historic,” said Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. “This demonstrates that Florida lawmakers are finally beginning to understand the need for a statewide law prohibiting discrimination faced by the LGBT community.”
The Council is a non-profit organization which has been in the forefront of Florida’s gay rights movement for more than twenty years. The bill, however, does not include gender identity, prompting a number of LGBT groups to oppose it. “After conferring with his colleagues last year, Senator [Ted] Deutch (D) determined that if the Senate bill included gender identity, it would be dead on arrival,” said Hoch.
“Over the past twenty years, the Council has learned that we work with supportive lawmakers, we should defer to them on legislative strategy.” A House version of the bill introduced by Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D) is transgender-inclusive. “That is the legislation that ultimately must be signed into law,” said Hoch. Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has not yet indicated whether he would sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.
You have wonder how much the Thomas “Pregnant Man” Beatie story will impact upcoming battles for transgender inclusion in these bills.