During this last midterm elections, the nation's eyes were all fixated on where I live, Broward County, Florida. Yes, it was an embarrassment that Floridians can't vote correctly, ballots were being found discarded left and right, early voters were unsure if their votes were being counted, some filled in ballots still locked in post offices from when Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56, of Aventura, Fla., sent mail bombs were sent to Trump's critics. How hard is it to fill out a ballot, submit it, and count it? I went to Winton Manors City Hall on the Tuesday before election day and there was no one was in line in front of me. It took 5 minutes. I wen to the local Coral Ridge Mall the Thursday night before and saw no one in line to vote, but instead saw a volunteer sweeping the floor near the 4 machines and 25+ voting booths. Many of us do not take voting seriously and the fiasco in Florida solidified it for some that even if you vote, your vote does't count, or they can't count it because they are incompetent.
But voting is important. After the dust settled and the palm trees stopped swaying, we had settled the three disputed elections for Governor, Senator, and Agricultural Commissioner. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, took the set of the governor, Skeletor himself, Republican Rick Scott became a Florida Senator and will represent the state in Washington, DC, and Democrat Nikki Fried would be the new Agricultural Commissioner. Right selections? Hmmm.
One of the first actions by the new governor was something we saw coming. We covered his oversight in out post Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Doesn't Include LGBTs In Non-Discrimination Order.
Equality Florida was quick to call out DeSantis for excluding LGBT Floridian’s in his executive order.
“Equality Florida is deeply disappointed to see that LGBTQ employees and contractors have been left out of the Governor’s executive order,” said Joe Saunders, Senior Political Director for Equality Florida. “It’s hard to believe that Governor DeSantis and his staff are not aware of the LGBTQ communities call for these protections following the Pulse tragedy and therefore it is hard to interpret this as anything less than a purposeful omission. As Governors across the country establish these critical protections for LGBTQ families, this order draws a stark contrast. We look forward to a dialogue with Governor DeSantis about why LGBTQ employees have been omitted from this critical policy and how he plans to make sure that all Floridians, regardless of who they are or who they love, can be protected from discrimination.” – eqfl.org
But did we expect anything less? We in the Florida LGBTQ community were promised protection before, as you pointed out.
Following the tragedy at Pulse nightclub, Equality Florida called for protections for LGBTQ state employees and then-Governor Rick Scott committed to establishing these protections. He broke that promise while governors in other states have stepped up. In the last month, Governor’s in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan have issued sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive executive orders on non-discrimination in state government. – eqfl.org
Former Republican Governor and now Senator Rick Scott didn't protect us, check.
New Governor Ron DeSantis left us out of protections, check.
Any hope for the idea that LGBT protections are needed will get to Tallahassee, the state capital? A city that is so far away from a majority of the population of the state. A city very north of Orlando, Orlando being where most of us draw the Conservative North/Liberal South political line across the state.
There is some home and there was some action. In a recent post, the Orlando Weekly shared that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried bans discrimination against LGBTQ employees in her office.
"My workplace policy is really just one sentence – you will be hired based on merit," the Republican governor said. "That's all I care about. And I think if you look at the appointments that I've made, nobody has done more diverse appointments than I have." – orlandoweekly.com
It's only the right thing to do, so why aren't more doing it? Fried's statement and new policy is historical since it is the first time a member of Florida's Cabinet has provided protections on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Many companies in Florida have a similar policy, but the state does not.
It is doubtful that Fried's policy will trickle up to DeSantis and his rule over the state, but what if Fried's policy takes a horizontal direction and influences other cabinet members? We shall see and can only hope.