A gaggle of rightwing Florida Republicans introduced four anti-LGBTQ bills just hours before the deadline to file new legislation passed. The bills were introduced as companion bills in the state House and Senate.
If passed, the bills would repeal local nondiscrimination ordinances and make it a felony to provide gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth. Two of the bills would overturn local bans on “conversion therapy,” a debunked pseudoscience that claims to turn people straight. Also known as “ex-gay therapy,” the practice has been denounced by major medical organizations.
States around the nation have introduced a slew of anti-transgender legislation. The far-right has turned their attention to attacking trans people after losing the battle over same-sex marriage.
One of the state’s out lawmakers, Democrat Shevrin Jones, told NBC News it is “shameful that Republican lawmakers are wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.”
“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity.”
“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer said in a press release. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”
State Sen. Joe Gruters (R) disputed that his bill would nullify all local nondiscrimination ordinances, saying he included language in the bill’s preamble to note that wasn’t intended. The preamble is not considered part of the actual bill, however.