Florida proposes anti-LGBT ‘licence to discriminate’ law
The US state of Florida could be getting its own brand new law allowing businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Trump-supporting Republican Florida state Representative Jay Fant has introduced the ‘Free Enterprise Protection Act’, which would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
Fant, a state Representative who also has aspirations to be the state’s next attorney general has said he was inspired by a legal case around the Masterpiece Cakeshop which refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple.
The bill, House Bill 871, is crafted in the vision of the First Amendment Defense Act which has been introduced in Congress.
If enacted, the law would block the government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business over its “personal employee benefit policies”.
It would also protect businesses claiming they are exercising freedoms of religion.
The state of Florida currently has no law banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in employment, housing or public accommodations.
So activists have already called out the law as an invitation to discriminate.
The bill specifies “discriminatory actions” as tax penalties, denying grants, contracts or certifications.
It also specifies excluding businesses from speech forums as “discriminatory actions”.
“I hope SCOTUS overturns this very bad ruling out of liberal Colorado, but I’m not sitting back to see what happens,” Fant wrote on Facebook.
The current Supreme Court case is against a baker who refused service to a gay couple in 2012.
The baker and owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Jack Phillips, who once said that he would rather go to prison than make a cake for a gay couple, refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, as he said it would go against his firmly held Christian beliefs.
The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, launched a discrimination complaint against the Masterpiece Cakeshop. In response, Jack Phillips launched a legal challenge to the complaint of discrimination.
In the five years since the original complaint, the case has gone through a number of courts and is now in the hands of the Supreme Court.