All Eyes on Rubio & Scott as House Passes the Equality Act


All Eyes on Rubio & Scott as House Passes the Equality Act

U.S. House votes in favor of historic civil rights protections

ST PETERSBURG, FL - The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Equality Act, the most comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights legislation that expands protections into essential areas of life including education, credit, and even jury service. President Biden made its passage a priority of the first 100 days of his Administration, releasing a statement last week noting that “the Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ Americans” and urging Congress to “swiftly pass this historic legislation”.

"All eyes are on Senator Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio as the Equality Act heads to the U.S. Senate," said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida. "The time has come for a modernized and updated federal Civil Rights Act that recognizes where discrimination still occurs today. Floridians clearly support equal rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and we call on our Senators to join the overwhelming public support that led to passage in the House today.”

Not only does polling show strong nondiscrimination support across political parties in Florida, the state civil rights enforcement agency has made clear they will enforce LGBTQ protections secured by the Supreme Court’s Bostock v Clayton County ruling last June. That decision affirmed that sex discrimination protections also include sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

“Every LGBTQ Floridian, from the Panhandle to Key West, is protected from discrimination under the law and has a path to pursue justice," added Smith.

The task before the Senate is clear: stand on the side of the American people. With support from over 70% of the country, 200+ major businesses, and 700+ faith organizations, passage of the Equality Act is a necessary and clear next step in moving the nation forward. In recent polling, 59% of Republican primary voters in Florida, many of whom self-identified as “very conservative”, expressed support for nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden, millions of Americans would finally be afforded those basic protections.

Calls for passage were echoed by local and state LGBTQ elected leaders in Florida:

“Everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Carlos Guillermo Smith, State Representative HD 49. “I have proudly championed civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community in the state legislature and now call on my colleagues in Washington to stand with us. The impact that The Equality Act will have on millions of Americans - Floridians included - cannot be overstated. Congress must pass the Equality Act and make clear that everyone deserves a fair shot at the American Dream.”

“As a queer, Black woman who ran on a commitment to fighting for equality and justice, I see the opportunity before Congress right now,” said Michele Rayner, State Representative HD 70. “We are at a critical moment in history. We can expand civil rights protections for vulnerable communities. We can provide justice to so many who have been marginalized by our system. We can blaze new trails toward equality for all. But we need our leaders to act. It is time for Congress to modernize civil rights protections in America. It is time to pass the Equality Act.”

"The Equality Act brings the law to where a strong bipartisan majority of the American people have been for years," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. "Passage of the Equality Act will be a historic step forward in the effort to build a more perfect union by ensuring that civil rights protections cover LGBT Americans. I am proud to support this legislation."


Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.




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