Florida Rep. Proposes LGBT Discrimination Law

by Ryan Lynch

South Florida Gay News

Saturday December 30, 2017

A Florida state representative is trying to introduce a law that would allow for businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.

Jay Fant has introduced a bill called the "Free Enterprise Protection Act," which would protect businesses "because it practices freedoms of speech or religion," according to ThinkProgress. Fant said he was inspired to make House Bill 871 by the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case currently being heard.

"A government that can compel your speech on a wedding cake, may also compel your speech in other public forums," Fant tweeted on Dec. 6. "Protecting First Amendment rights is ALWAYS the way to go. If I were AGl, I would file a friend of the court briefing advocating the overturn of the Baker case."

Florida currently has no state laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Fant said he wants to protect businesses from tax punishments, the loss of contracts and being excluded from speech forums.

Fant is also currently running to be Florida's next attorney general. According to Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat, his bill does not have a good chance of passing in 2018.

"I am encouraged by yesterday's oral argument in the case," Fant tweeted. "When I'm AG, I will protect our constitutional rights to free speech and religious liberty."

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