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Palm Beach Human Rights Council: First steps taken towards statewide gay rights bill

News release:

(Tallahassee, Florida) With the support of both Democrats and Republicans, a Florida Senate committee approved a bill this morning to prohibit discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

"Today's vote is truly historic," said Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. "This demonstrates that Florida lawmakers are finally beginning to understand the need for a statewide law prohibiting discrimination faced by the GLBT community."

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is a non-profit organization which has been in the forefront of Florida's gay rights movement for more than twenty years.

Four Republicans joined three Democrats in supporting the bill. The bill's sole opponent was Republican Sen. Steve Oelrich of Gainesville.

The gay rights bill must still pass three more committees --Community Affairs, Judiciary and General Government Appropriations -- before it can be voted on by the entire Florida Senate.

"Thanks in great part to to Senators Ted Deutch and Jeff Atwater, for the first time in Florida history, we are beginning to build momentum for a gay rights bill," said Hoch.

At the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council and ACLU Florida, Equality Florida, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton) has also introduced a transgender-inclusive bill in the Florida House of Representatives.

From SAVE:

Miami Dade County legislators Alex Diaz de la Portilla, chairman of the committee, and committee member Rudy Garcia, both Republicans, voted in favor of the bill.

Please take a moment to thank them both for their votes.  Also, please request that Senator Alex Villalobos, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Senator Rudy Garcia, Chairman of the Community Affairs Committee, schedule bill S.572.

Senator Alex Diaz del a Portilla    portilla.alex.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Rudy Garcia     garcia.rudy.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Alex Villalobos    villalobos.alex.web@flsenate.gov

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