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Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community

Cindy with her kids at SWFL Pride last fall

LGBTQ+ rights have been a topic of discussion for many years now and progress has been progress. Over the past few years we have seen major victories for the community in the justice system. On August 21st, 2014, a U.S District Court found the state of Florida’s ban on same sex marriage to be unconstitutional and on January 6th, 2015, same sex marriage became legally recognized in the state of Florida as a result of the Brenner v. Scott case.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that it is illegal to fire someone based on gender identity or sexual orientation in Bostock v. Clayton County. This is a great step forward in ending workplace discrimination for people in the LGBTQ+ community. We must continue to work to ensure that federal, state, and local institutions adopt the non-discriminatory practices necessary in light of this ruling.

While there have been major wins for the community, there are still plenty of issues, including hate crimes, various forms of discrimination, and Gay Conversion Therapy. One of the most pressing issues facing the LGBTQ+ community is Gay Conversion Therapy, the dangerous practice of an outside party attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This practice, also referred to as “reparative therapy,” is one that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, especially in the state of Florida, since only 23 counties have banned this from taking place. There are no bans on this practice on the west coast of the state, including in Southwest Florida. This “therapy” is dangerous and causes major harm on those who are forced to partake in it. Such a “therapy” should not exist as everyone should be allowed to live their lives on their own terms, especially people in the LGBTQ+ community, who deserve to embraced no matter who they love, and not be ridiculed because of it.

The Equality Act passed the US House of Representatives and would protect vulnerable members of our community. However, it has not been taken up in the Senate. As your Representative, I will work to ensure that the Equality Act is taken up again in the 117th Congress. Everyone in this country should have the right to exist and love who they want without being harassed for it.

As we come to the end of Pride Month 2020, I want to share the message of love and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. We all deserve to be free.

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