Florida adoption agencies could turn away same sex couples for religious reasons and certain businesses in the state could deny them products or services under a bill filed Wednesday by state Rep. Julio Gonzalez that echoes highly-controversial legislation from other states.
The bill – slammed by gay rights leaders as one of the most discriminatory anti-LGBT measures in the nation – is a response to infringement on religious liberties around the country said Gonzalez, R-Venice...
Gonzalez’s bill goes beyond the adoption issue to include other businesses. It states that individuals, businesses with five or fewer owners, religious institutions and businesses operated by religious institutions are “not required to produce, create, or deliver a product or service” to a customer if they have a religious or moral objection.
This bill is particularly ghastly because not only does it run roughshod over the rights of LGBT Americans, it also takes a swipe at reproductive rights, saying that a healthcare facility operated by a religious institution "is not required to administer, recommend, or deliver a medical treatment or procedure that would be contrary to the religious or moral convictions or policies of the facility or health care provider." Many religious healthcare providers have proven that they are willing to disregard the wishes and health of women in the name of faith, including denying tubal ligation and refusing to treat miscarriages. Truly, this is a bill that will negatively effect large swathes of the population
What makes this bill truly bizarre is that its progenitor, Rep. Gonzalez, seems to have developed selective amnesia when it comes to financial backlashes to legislation likes this. Businesses in both Arizona and Indiana rebelled when the state introduced their own RFRAs. Florida, home to Disney World, SeaWorld, and other major corporations, could be risking major financial losses in both the business and tourism sectors. Gay Days Orlando, for example, regularly brings 50,000 members of the LGBT community to Disney's Magic Kingdom every year, while the 2016 event will be centered at a SeaWorld hotel. Does this lawmaker truly believe that these companies will stay silent while facing such a potential loss of revenue?
As of yet, this bill has no Senate sponsor, so there is a chance that this will die an ignoble death somewhere in the depths of legislative procedure. Still, the bill is an ominous sign of things to come as states begin their legislative seasons.