Turns Out, Some Florida Lawmakers Aren't Homophobic

Florida may have elected an antigay, antichoice tea partier as its chief executive, but there are still a few legislators out there on the other side.

Rep. Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) recently filed The Competitive Workforce Act, which would bar businesses from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Randolph, recognizing that discrimination based on sexual orientation leads to economy-sapping brain-drains, hopes that protection against discrimination will bring businesses, jobs, and families to Florida.

The reasoning behind the bill: The lion's share of Fortune 500 companies -- 87 percent, to be specific -- have similar policies in place.

If passed, the bill would also prohibit sexual-orientation and gender-identity-based discrimination in housing and public assistance.

Sen. Nan Rich (D-Weston) has sponsored a similar bill in the state Senate. Rich, an advocate of children's rights, has recently gained attention for successfully spearheading a new law that criminalizes bestiality.

Randolph filed a similar bill during the spring legislative session, but it looks like that bill didn't even get a hearing.

Randolph's move comes on the heels of Florida's Domestic Partnership Act, introduced by Rep. Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) in September. That bill would grant domestic partnership protections to couples.

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Victoria Bekiempis