Monday, March 16, 2009

Support to help pass two very important pieces of legislation

we call on your support to help pass two very important pieces of legislation. Both proposed bills secure basic human and parental fairness for LGBT people and their families.


ADOPTION

Representative Mary Brandenburg's legislation - HB 413 - to repeal the bigoted, discriminatory 32-year-old ban on adoption by gay Floridians has been assigned to four committees. The bill currently is in the Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee.

The first step in moving this important legislation forward is to hold a hearing in the Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee -- and for the committee to approve the bill.

We are asking you to contact the Committee Chair, Rep. Nick Thompson (R-Ft. Myers), and ask him to set a hearing date on HB 413 as soon as possible. We also need you to ask him to support this important legislation as a co-sponsor. His phone number in Tallahassee is 850-488-1541. Please note that Rep. Nick Thompson was the Sponsor of HB 669 in 2008, known as the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up For All Students Act, which protects all of Florida's students from bullying, including anti-gay harassment.

The other Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee members are:

Rep. Mike Weinstein (R) - District 19 - Jacksonville - Phone 850-488-1304(Vice Chair)
Rep. Audrey Gibson (D) - District 15 - Jacksonville - Phone 850- 488-7417
Rep. Michael Scionti (D) - District 58 - Tampa - Phone 850-488-9460 (Ranking Democrat)
Rep. Kevin Ambler (R) - District 47 - Tampa - Phone 850- 488-0275
Rep. Kelli Stargel (R) - District 64 - Lakeland - Phone 850- 488-2270
Rep. Eric Eisnaugle (R) - District 40 - Orlando - Phone 850- 488-9770
Rep. Dorothy Hukill (R) - District 28 - Port Orange - Phone 850- 488-6653
Rep. Adam Fetterman (D) - District 81 - Port St. Lucie - Phone 850- 488-8749
Rep. Tom Grady (R) - District 76 - Naples - Phone 850- 488-4487

Please contact all Representatives that you know or that are in your area. Ask them to contact Rep. Nick Thompson and ask for a hearing as soon as possible. In addition, please ask them to support the bill by becoming a co-sponsor.

Click here for a sample letter.


PROTECTION FROM DISCRIMINATION

we will also be lobbying elected officials in Tallahassee for support on Sen. Ted Deutch's and Rep. Kelly Skidmore's legislations - SB 2012/ HB 397- that seek to update the Florida Civil Rights Act and Florida's Fair Housing Act to include LGBT individuals and families under its protections.

The Florida Civil Rights Act currently covers only race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, while Florida's Fair Housing Act covers the same categories, including familial status.

The Deutch-Skidmore legislation simply updates Florida's laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy and familial status.

It is still legal in Florida to be discriminated against or even fired for being or perceived to be LGBT in your place of employment. However, recent polls have shown that 89% of Floridians believe that homosexuals should have the same rights in housing, job opportunities, and public accommodations.

We urge you to contact your state senator and state representative and ask if they have joined the list of co-sponsors, and encourage them to support this important legislation.


Click here for a sample letter.

To view the web page for the Deutch-Skidmore legislation, which provides a link to the complete text of the bill as well as an updates list of co-sponsors, click here.


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