Advocates: Gov. Scott's Office Broke Promise To LGBTQ Community

Gay rights advocates say Gov. Rick Scott's office broke a commitment to pursue an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ state workers and contractors after the massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando.

Advocates say Scott's staffers, following the June 2016 incident, promised to pursue the order. More than a year later, no such order has been issued.

Those advocates say such an order has become even more important because the U.S. Justice Department has filed court papers in recent weeks saying sexual orientation isn't covered by anti-discrimination provisions.

Gov. Scott wouldn't talk about the alleged commitment his staff made when asked Tuesday, but he said federal guidelines protect the gay community and the state follows them.

Some gay state workers say an executive order is important because right now there's too much ambiguity on whether gay state workers and contractors are protected from discrimination.

After the Pulse massacre, advocates said two members of the governor's staff met at a hotel with leaders from the group Equality Florida.

Equality Florida representatives say the governor's staffers — then-chief of staff Kim McDougal and legislative affairs director Kevin Reilly — allegedly asked what could be done to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community, and the advocates answered that Scott should issue the anti-discrimination order.

"They sat with us and said, 'This is something that is important.' This was an issue they believed could move forward and if there was any problem, any concerns, they would let us know," Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith said, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nothing happened.

When asked about the matter in Tampa on Tuesday, Scott wouldn't say if he would sign such an order or had changed his mind.

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