DeSantis' first executive order doesn't include protection for LGBTQ state employees

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With the stroke of a pen, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued two executive orders just hours after his inauguration Tuesday. One was a revised Code of Ethics for the governor’s office, and the other was an anti-discrimination pledge for Florida government employees.

The second one is similar to an executive order signed by DeSantis’ predecessor, now-U.S. Sen. Rick Scott. And just as in Scott’s order, there is no mention of anti-discrimination protection for LGBTQ individuals.

Scott promised to protect LGBTQ state workers and contractors in the wake of the Pulse massacre, but never did.


There are 97,000 state workers in Florida, and advocates say the omission is unacceptable in a state that is so diverse.

"We asked for this to be in writing so state workers know what their rights are under the anti-discrimination laws,” said State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, who met with Scott in 2016 and said Scott promised an order to give state workers protections.

“It is disappointing, and we hope that it is an inadvertent omission,” said Gina Duncan, of the political advocacy group Equality Florida. “There are so many major corporations in Florida that embrace nondiscrimination. It is disappointing to not see the state of Florida follow suit.”

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“LGBT Floridians and our allies will continue to advocate in hopes that Gov. DeSantis can evolve, attracting more business, tourists and residents to Florida,” said George Wallace, director of The LGBT Center of Central Florida. “We need to be known as an inclusive and welcoming state.”

WFTV Channel 9 contacted DeSantis’ office to see if this was intentional or an oversight. The governor’s office did not respond by the time this story was published.

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