By Zack Ford
State lawmakers are already gearing up for their legislatures to return next year, and already, one Florida lawmaker has his eyes set on discriminating against LGBTQ people.
Florida state Rep. Jay Fant (R) has introduced what he calls the “Free Enterprise Protection Act”, which would allow business owners to refuse service to LGBTQ people without repercussion.
House Bill 871 is modeled after the First Amendment Defense Act introduced in Congress. It prohibits the government from taking any “discriminatory action” against a business because of its “personnel and employee benefit policies” or because it exercises its freedoms of expression and religion. Given Florida has no state law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations, this would be nothing short of an invitation to discriminate — one that would sidestep protections that exist at the local level in cities across the state.
The “discriminatory actions” from which Fant wants to protect businesses include tax penalties; denying grants, contracts, or certifications; or excluding the business from speech forums.
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