Out in America
January 4, 2011
(Tallahassee, Florida) Shortly after he was sworn in as Florida's 45th governor, Rick Scott issued an executive order addressing diversity in state government.
A request for the order had been made last month by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. The Council, a nonprofit organization founded in 1988, is dedicated to dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
In a December 6 letter to the Scott Transition Team, Council President Rand Hoch requested that the incoming governor's first executive order address equal opportunity in state employment.
"By doing so on the day you take office, you will assure all Floridians that the State of Florida is committed to providing equal employment opportunity in state government to all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, pregnancy or marital status," Hoch wrote.
While the Council's request was for an inclusive order, Scott instead issued Executive Order 11-04, which narrowly limited Florida's non-discrimination policies to address only race, gender, creed, color and national origin.
"Governor Scott's limited view of diversity is very discouraging," said Hoch. "Governor Scott did not even include all of the classifications listed in the Florida Civil Rights Act -- let alone sexual orientation and gender identity."
The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status." In addition, Florida courts have also determined that pregnancy is a protected classification.