FLORIDA: Osceola County Commission Unanimously Approves LGBT Rights Bill With Religious Exemptions [VIDEO]

The commissioners of Florida’s Osceola County, population 275,000, have unanimously approved an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance with exemptions for religious belief. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

The ordinance, which would take effect as soon as it is filed with the state, includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the groups protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Despite a clarification that religious groups would be exempt from discrimination based on religion — groups would not have to hire or allow membership outside their own sect — many pastors and one doctor still argued that they should be able to hire and fire based on sexual orientation. “I will not provide Viagra or fertility assistance or adoption assistance” to gay couples, physician John Littell said, comparing homosexuality to abortion as part of the “crisis of love and crisis of conscience” in the community. Several pastors, including several Latino pastors who needed translation from Spanish, argued in opposition. “What we’re asking you to do is not trample on the rights of the religious community,” said the Rev. Jim Book, pastor of First Christian Church of Kissimmee.

A portion of Walt Disney World is in Osceola County. Across Florida ten other counties and 19 cities have similar ordinances in place, but no statewide protections exist.

Other testimonies from the hearing can be found on Equality Florida’s YouTube channel.