(West Palm Beach, Florida) The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) has requested incoming-Governor Ron DeSantis to issue an executive order assuring Floridians that the state is committed to equal opportunity in government employment and contracting, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or marital status.
PBCHRC is Florida's oldest, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Over the years, the organization has been responsible for the implementation of more than 130 laws and policies providing equal protections, rights, and benefits for the gay community.
PBCHRC President Rand Hoch made the request in a letter dated December 12, 2018, which included PBCHRC's draft of an executive order based on Executive Order 11-04, which Governor Rick Scott issued on his first day in office in 2011.
"Governor-elect DeSantis represents a new generation of leadership in Florida," said Hoch. "As Governor, he also represents more than 125,000 LGBT Floridians."
Over the years, similar directives have been issued by Republican and Democratic governors in 32 states - Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
This morning, in a second letter to Govevernor-elect DeSantis, Hoch provided him with an LGBT-inclusive executive order issued by outgoing-Governor John Kasich (R-OH).
PBCHRC has been persistent in its efforts seeking LGBT-inclusive executive orders from Florida's governors.
On December 21, 2006 PBCHRC first asked then Governor-elect Charlie Crist to issue one. However, Crist failed to even acknowledge the request. During his term as governor, Crist receive ten additional requests from PBCHRC -- one each time another governor issued an LGBT-inclusive executive order. Those too fell on deaf ears and not a single one was acknowledged by Crist.
On December 6, 2010, PBCHRC requested then Governor-elect Governor Scott to issue a comprehensive executive order on state employment and contracting. While Scott did issue Executive Order 11-04 on the day he took office in 2011, he failed to include three of the classifications requested by PBCHRC -- sexual orientation, gender identity or exprression, and disability.
"Much has changed since Governor Scott first took office," Hoch wrote in PBCHRC's initial letter to DeSantis, "PBCHRC is hopeful that you will take that into account as you consider our request."