Florida Sports Teams Call on Gov. DeSantis to Include LGBTQ Protections


Sport has the power to bring people together across divides, to inspire empathy, and to build a more inclusive society. Today in Florida, the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Miami Heat and Florida Panthers have powerfully stood in solidarity with LGBTQ Floridians by signing onto a joint statement of support calling for LGBTQ protection under the law. This statement responds to the lack of protections for LGBTQ state workers under Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order on discrimination.

There is no comprehensive statewide law in Florida that clearly protects the LGBTQ community from discrimination, and just days ago a potentially devastating preemption measure (HB 3) advanced in the Florida House that could threaten existing nondiscrimination protections currently covering 60% of Floridians. The call for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations is coming from all corners — everyday LGBTQ Floridians and allies, a bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers, leading Florida businesses, and even Florida’s athletic community.

We are proud to have worked with Athlete Ally—an organization dedicated to ending homophobia and transphobia in sports— to help mobilize the athletic community on this. Today, these teams call upon Governor DeSantis to amend Executive Order 1910 to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.


As members of the Florida athletic community, we are committed to the values that bring us together as athletes and Floridians— namely, those of respect, inclusion and fairness for all. Our organization is deeply committed to upholding the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to be protected from discrimination.

We share the concern of many who were disappointed to see that Governor Ron DeSantis’ issuance of an Executive Order related to state workers and discrimination excluded LGBTQ Floridians. In the wake of the tragic 2016 Pulse shooting which specifically targeted LGBTQ people and took 49 innocent lives, the need for codified protections has never been more clear. Polls show that nearly 75% of Floridians support fully inclusive laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Moreover, nearly 80% of conservative likely voters in Florida supported former Governor Rick Scott issuing an Executive Order that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

We ask Governor DeSantis to stand on the right side of history by amending Executive Order 1910 to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. No Floridian should feel the sting of discrimination because of who they are or who they love.

Teams Signed-On:

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Miami Heat 

Florida Panthers