A dangerous bill racing through the Florida legislature would overturn several of Florida’s strongest local LGBT rights policies and would block future policies statewide.

SB 726 by Senator Simmons is a way to eliminate requirements on what kind of benefits businesses must offer their employees.

The bill has already passed the House of Representatives and a Senate companion bill is also close to passage.

Senator Simmons’ bill prohibits local governments from requiring companies that they do business with to have family leave for domestic partners and would invalidate policies that already exist. T

he House version of the bill, HB 655 by Representative Precourt, would eliminate equal benefits ordinances (EBO). EBOs require that companies, who contract with a particular city or county, provide the same benefits to domestic partners that they do to married spouses. In other words, if health insurance is available to spouses, it would need to be available to domestic partners. If no benefits are available to spouses, they would not be required to be available for domestic partners.

Non-married couples should be able to take care of each other in times of illness, and not lose their job because of it. For years, Equality Florida has worked with private businesses and local governments to ensure domestic partners are given vital protections, including family leave and health insurance benefits.

Cities and counties across the state have passed laws that require contractors, who do business with the city, to recognize domestic partners. These cities have a commitment to diversity and know that it is important to work with businesses that do the same.

SB 726 and HB 655 would eliminate years of victories on the local level and prevent us from passing more of these great policies. The bill has one more committee stop before heading for a vote in front of the full Senate. Click here to tell the legislative leadership not to eliminate family leave for domestic partners and not to invalidate our equal benefits ordinances.

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