Florida Clergy United Throw Their Weight Behind the FCWA, Say Passage Is A Matter of Faith

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Today, members of Florida Clergy United in Faith and Public Life, a prominent group of multi-denominational faith leaders, gave their endorsement to legislation known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA), which would modernize Florida’s non-discrimination law, ensuring statewide protections for LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Reverend Joe Parramore, a co-coordinator of Florida Clergy United, underscored that faith absolutely calls for people to support equality for all:

“Inscribed on the Rotunda walls of this Capitol, is the Preamble to the Florida’s Constitution. As a member of the community of faith, what concerns me most about [what is] in that Preamble is the line that says ‘can guarantee equal civil, and political rights to all.”

“Inscribed on the Rotunda walls of this Capitol, is the Preamble to the Florida’s Constitution. As a member of the community of faith, what concerns me most about [what is] in that Preamble is the line that says ‘can guarantee equal civil, and political rights to all.” —Rev. Joe Parramore.

Pastor Reginald Gundy of Jacksonville reiterated that sentiment:

“When I started thinking about being a pastor of everyone … when I began to realize and recognize that to be unfair, unequal to people, it’s just simply a sin.”

Florida Clergy United joins 450 local businesses across the Sunshine State as well as  a growing, bipartisan group of lawmakers—building off of the unprecedented support of 44% of lawmakers in 2017—who have given their support to the legislation.

“When I started thinking about being a pastor of everyone … when I began to realize and recognize that to be unfair, unequal to people, it’s just simply a sin.” —Pastor Reginald Gundy

The FCWA’s new prime sponsor, Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), has also said faith is a main driver of his support for the bill:

“This truly is one of the most important issues of our time. I am proud to sponsor Senate Bill 66 which simply adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the already existing Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. This inclusion makes it clear that all Floridians deserve equal rights in employment, housing and accommodations. Eighteen states already have similar comprehensive nondiscrimination laws, and with a diverse population, this fundamental protection in our state is long overdue.”

Today’s endorsement shows just how much the FCWA is picking up steam among lawmakers, community groups and the business community—yet legislative leadership has been slow to recognize this support.

“This truly is one of the most important issues of our time. … all Floridians deserve equal rights in employment, housing and accommodations. Eighteen states already have similar comprehensive nondiscrimination laws, and with a diverse population, this fundamental protection in our state is long overdue.” —Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), lead bill sponsor

On October 17, Florida Competes sent a letter to House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron asking that FCWA be heard in the 2018 legislative session; Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) will lead this effort.

It is past time for legislative leaders to get serious about FCWA. Florida cities risk losing their bid for Amazon HQ2 because of a lack of statewide protections. Amazon, ranked 12th in the Fortune 500 index, maintains a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, which is at odds with Florida’s lack of comprehensive non-discrimination legislation.

That’s why the Florida Competes coalition, which includes Florida-based Fortune 500 companies like Walt Disney World & Resort, AT&T, Darden Restaurants, and CSX, are encouraging lawmakers to pass the FCWA in 2018.

If you’re a Florida business—large or small—join our effort to pass the FCWA and ensure that Florida remains open for business for everyone. Sign the pledge.