“While local laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity are steps in the right direction, Congress and the Florida Legislature should pass similar bans to ensure everyone is equally protected.”
Tampa Bay Times, Editorial published July 3, 2015
“Florida lawmakers must reject measures that would permit LGBT discrimination, and rule it out once and for all.”
Orlando Sentinel, Editorial published April 15, 2015
“Passing the Competitive Workforce Act makes good sense economically and benefits employers and employees by offering a law that is consistent across the state.”
State Rep. Holly Raschein, (R-Key Largo)
“In order to remain economically competitive in a global marketplace, Florida must provide an environment that is welcoming to all. Recruiting and retaining talent regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity will only serve to enhance our reputation and augment our economic viability.”
State Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, (D-Boynton Beach)
“The Competitive Workforce Act will eliminate business inefficiencies and increase economic growth. Implementing protections against all forms of discrimination is the right choice for employees, employers, businesses and our state.”
State Rep. Ray Pilon, (R-Sarasota)
“The Competitive Workforce Act will create a stronger workforce in Florida. Passing consistent standards across the state will guarantee we are able to draw on the creativity and expertise of all our residents in order to drive our state’s business success.”
State Rep. Mike Miller, (R-Winter Park)
“Respect is one of our core values here at Florida Blue, and workplace equality and acceptance is something we strive for. Through the collection of experiences, abilities and backgrounds of our employees, Florida Blue is an inclusive organization that attracts the best talent and contributes to magnificent teamwork.”
Pat Geraghty (FBCW Coalition President), Chairman/CEO, Florida Blue
“Tech Data understands the value of bringing together diverse ideas, and we are committed to fostering an inclusive culture where those ideas can thrive. As one of the largest public companies in Florida and one of FORTUNE’s ‘World’s Most Admired Companies,’ we have a long history of living our company’s shared values, including integrity and respect. As Tech Data celebrates its 40th year in business, we remain dedicated to fundamental fairness and equality for all.”
John Tonnison (FBCW Coalition Secretary), Executive Vice President and Worldwide Chief Information Officer, Tech Data Corporation
“Diversity is a business imperative. The key to innovation is diversity of thinking… having people from different backgrounds and different cultural experiences who are organized around a common objective are far more likely to create breakthrough innovation than a homogenous group. That same diversity of thinking is a powerful advantage.”
Arnold Donald, President and CEO, Carnival Corporation & plc
“Florida Realtors is pleased to support any public policy measure that promotes fair housing and helping Floridians achieve the dream of homeownership. In a recent survey, more than half of our members who responded agreed the association should support legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. After reviewing the survey results and hearing from our internal Diversity Committee, the Board of Directors voted to support legislation that would prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Andrew Barbar, 2015 President, Florida Realtors
“Our Executive Committee of the Chamber voted unanimously to endorse the Competitive Workforce Act, and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce is pleased to back this public policy that promotes the economic interests and quality of life in our state.”
Mark Trowbridge, President and CEO, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce
“In my home state of Florida, it is legal to discriminate against people in employment, housing and public accommodations simply because they are gay or transgender. Just as it seems difficult to imagine a time when the phrase ‘breast cancer’ was taboo, it is hard to believe that such discrimination exists today and remains permissible by the state.”
Nancy G. Brinker, Founder and Chair of Global Strategy for Susan G. Komen
“At Marriott, our core strength lies in our ability to make everyone – guests and employees – feel respected and valued when they stay or work in our hotels. We work hard to build a workplace free of discrimination that enables all of our associates to succeed. The Competitive Workforce Act is consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion and will help us attract top talent from a range of backgrounds to provide stellar service at our Florida properties.”
David Rodriguez, Chief Human Resources Officer, Marriott International
“The tourism and hospitality industry is the state’s largest employer, representing more than one million people working in our restaurants, hotels and attractions. Discrimination will not be tolerated in our industry, nor should it be tolerated in any segment of the population.”
Carol Dover, President/CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
“Bilzin Sumberg is strongly committed to providing a professional environment where individuals representing different genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions can flourish both personally and professionally. Our diverse backgrounds and individual differences strengthen the work we accomplish as a firm and enhance the quality of life for each of us.”
John C. Sumberg, Managing Partner, Bilzin Sumberg
“Raymond James has a long history of embracing and celebrating the diversity of our associates, financial advisors and clients, and we are dedicated to championing an inclusive environment where differences are understood, respected and valued. Acceptance and equality provide a safe and level playing field and the opportunity to thrive, which benefits both businesses and their employees.”
Paul Reilly, CEO, Raymond James
“Diversity and inclusion in our company is something we truly believe in, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it’s important to the growth of our people and business. We will become a great company only when we take advantage of the creativity that comes from multiple perspectives.”
Lynn Boston, SPHR, Vice President, Talent Management and HR, Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC, the parent company of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie grocery stores
“All employees deserve equal opportunity, fairness and justice. It is the honorable thing to do, not only for our business, but for our employees. Acceptance and inclusiveness foster a positive employee experience, leading to increased productivity and growth.”
Kenneth Colen, President, On Top of the World Communities
“We value the diversity of our businesses and consumers in the area, and recruiting and retaining talent is critical to the state’s business success. Support and inclusiveness in our workplaces will assure business leaders and the workforce that Florida and St. Petersburg are both welcoming places keen on encouraging economic growth.”
Nick Kouris, Chair, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Task Force
“As a business owner in an area known for its warmth in welcoming visitors, I support policies that create the best possible environment for businesses to succeed. If we really want to attract more tourists and businesses to Florida, we have to roll out the welcome mat to everyone. Passing the Competitive Workforce is one way we can show business owners and visitors that we really do want them to build here, grow here and visit here.”
Suzanne Batlle, Owner, Azucar Ice Cream in Miami, Fla.
“As a Baptist pastor, I believe that God has allowed a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities to emerge within the human family, and as a result I affirm these natural differences as God-given. Whether you share my perspective on this matter or not, I believe we can all agree that people should not be discriminated against in their employment and other commercial activities based on whom they love or how they identify themselves as it relates to gender. Please join me in supporting legislation that will protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons from discrimination while preserving historic First Amendment protections for religious organizations.”
The Rev. Tim Sizemore, Church in the Meadows, Lakeland, Fla.
“It saddens me when I hear Christians use their religion as an excuse to discriminate. Prejudice is not a Christian value. I support passage of the Competitive Workforce Act because it provides fairness for LGBT people across the state, not just in those areas where local ordinances have been passed. The United Church of Christ has been a leader in promoting LGBT inclusion and equality, so I look forward to this act becoming law in Florida.”
The Rev. Paul Werner, Trinity Congregational United Church of Christ, Winter Haven, Fla.