News Sunshine State

Most Floridians favor laws against LGBT discrimination

Gay rights activists hold a rainbow flag during a rally to support same-sex marriage in central Sydney August 11, 2012. Hundreds of gay rights activists attended rallies across Australia on Saturday to support same-sex marriage. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SOCIETY)
Written by Agenda Florida

Seventy percent of Floridians say that they favor laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing, this according to a new study just out by the Public Religion Research Institute.

The study, released last week, sampled more than 2,500 Floridians. Of that group 24% were opposed to LGBT non-discrimination, while six percent remained undecided.

The Florida Competitive Workplace Act, which died last week in the state senate Judiciary Committee, would have provided such protections across Florida. It mattered little that it was cosponsored in the House by a Republican or that it was endorsed by some of the largest employers in the state including Walt Disney World, Tech Data Corp., Winn-Dixie, and Carnival Cruise Line.

Ironically, 45 percent of Floridians live in a city or county with nondiscrimination laws already in place. Logic would suggest the Florida Competitive Workplace Act would therefore be an easy sell. Not so in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature. The legacy of Anita Bryant lives on.

The issue is even less controversial than gay marriage. In Florida, 53 percent say they support gay marriage while 37 percent say they oppose it.

When it comes to whether small businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBT people by citing their religious beliefs, only 35 percent of Floridians said that should be allowed according to the survey. Another 58 percent said small-business owners should not be able to discriminate.