TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In the days and months after the June 12, 2016, Pulse nightclub attack, support for the LGBTQ community in Florida was at an all-time high.
As that support peaked, groups such as Equality Florida and individuals including state Rep. Carlos Guillermo-Smith were assured that Gov. Rick Scott would be signing an executive order to protect state employees and government contractors from discrimination.
More than a year later, that executive order has not been signed and proponents of the anti-discrimination order are voicing their frustration with the governor.
“We were given every indication by the Governor’s Office that they would get this done,” Guillermo-Smith said. “After weeks and months and months of delays, we realized this had now become a broken promise.”
The executive order would prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community employed by the state government or government contractors.
Since the Pulse attack, Guillermo-Smith said he and others had many closed-door meetings with Scott’s team about the order.
Instead of a signature, they got excuses, Guillermo-Smith said.
“The excuses that were given were all over the map,” he said. “From Zika to the hurricane from last October.”
Guillermo-Smith and Equality Florida have vowed to continue fighting for the executive order and promised to honor the 49 killed in the Pulse attack by getting it signed.
“We are going to continue fighting and doing everything that we can do to honor them with action,” Guillermo-Smith said.
Scott's office released the following statement on the issue:
"Florida is a state that doesn't tolerate discrimination of any form. In accordance with federal guidelines, Florida state agencies do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and state employees should not be discriminated against in any way. Our office will continue to review ways we can work to eliminate discrimination of any kind."
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