The Associated Press reports:
Some central Florida lawmakers said they were considering “all legislative, legal and executive options available” to stop business owners in a small town from voluntarily displaying rainbow decals in their windows indicating that they are “safe place” for LGBTQ+ people who feel threatened.
Four Republican lawmakers wrote a letter to officials in Mount Dora two weeks ago warning that the new, optional city-sponsored program could put the central Florida community outside Orlando “in the crosshairs of potentially detrimental and absolutely unnecessary economic harm.”
Mount Dora’s city council approved the Safe Place Initiative last month. The city of 17,000 residents is known for its antique shops and weekend festivals. The council’s decision to approve the program has coincided with an uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ incidents, including vandalism last month at two LGBTQ+ centers in Orlando.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
The initiative was approved by the City Council in a unanimous vote last week, but now may be reconsidered after city officials received the letter signed by Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley, and Reps. Keith Truenow, Taylor Yarkosky and Stan McClain.
“In light of what we have seen around this country in regards to the pushback and unprecedented financial harm to long standing American made companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Target Corporation, this local ‘Safe Place’ program is negligent, irresponsible and divisive at best.”
In a Facebook post applauding the letter – claiming a “legislative wipeout INCOMING” – the Lake County Republican Party said the city “passed a woke program demanding local business owners display ‘Anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime stickers’ on the front doors of their businesses.”
State Sen. Dennis Baxley [photo above] last year led the push in his chamber to pass the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In 2019, he appeared here for his failed bill that would have directed public school teachers to argue against climate change and evolution. In 2005 he introduced the NRA-written “Stand Your Ground” bill that was successfully used in the murder of Trayvon Martin. That same he introduced a failed bill that would have allowed students to sue university professors if they failed, for example, to allow students to promote Holocaust denial in classroom discussions. A descendant of a Confederate soldier, Baxley fought against the creation of the Florida Slavery Memorial, which as approved in 2018 and remains unbuilt.
‘SAFE PLACES’: Some central Florida lawmakers said they were considering “all legislative, legal and executive options available” to stop business owners in a small town from voluntarily displaying rainbow decals in their windows. https://t.co/bPrNBoxCfx
— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) September 2, 2023
OK, WE GET IT ALREADY. Florida Republican lawmakers have made it absolutely, and unequivocally clear that they do not want any safe spaces for LGBTQ people in our state.
Yet, we’ll keep creating them because we can. https://t.co/s0KVW7zoLM
— Carlos Guillermo Smith (@CarlosGSmith) August 23, 2023
— South Florida Sun Sentinel (@SunSentinel) September 2, 2023