From the editorial board of the Orlando Sentinel:
Even after all the news coverage, it’s hard to fathom the depths of toxic, illogical thinking behind a missive sent to Mount Dora city leaders by the Lake County legislative delegation, in response to the city’s approval of a “safe spaces” program that encourages business leaders to offer refuge to people threatened with harassment or violence.
Smugly hateful, the missive carried a thinly veiled threat to punish Mount Dora residents if their City Council doesn’t knuckle under. The Republican lawmakers signing off on it —Sen. Dennis Baxley, and Reps. Keith Truenow, Taylor Yarkosky and Stan McClain — should be ashamed of themselves. They aren’t.
Their letter read, “We believe that you are putting the City of Mount Dora in the crosshairs of potentially detrimental and absolutely unnecessary, economic harm.” No, fellas, that’s you: This threat is coming from inside the House (and Senate, and governor’s mansion).
Mount Dora council members and residents are precisely the wrong audience for this nonsense. Voters chose LGBTQ leaders for three of the seven council seats. And city leaders are well aware of the upswing in threats and actual crimes this brand of poisonous politicking spawns.
Read the full editorial. As I noted yesterday, 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 year 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 was approved in 2018 and remains unbuilt. Below, you can see Baxley accept an award from the “death to gays” Christian nationalist who says that only Christians should be allowed to run for office.
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) September 3, 2023
‘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
— South Florida Sun Sentinel (@SunSentinel) September 2, 2023
GOP lawmakers take aim at LGBTQ+ ‘safe places’ program in Mount Dora
— Florida Politics (@Fla_Pol) September 3, 2023
Grateful to the National Association of Christian Lawmakers for presenting me with the 2022 Lawmaker of the Year award! For our sponsorship of House Bill 1557, the Parental Rights in Education Act. pic.twitter.com/hfDWQUAq3M
— Sen. Dennis Baxley (@dennisbaxley) July 6, 2022
Citing a Bible verse that calls for gay people to be put to death, Christian nationalist Jason Rapert demands that the Obergefell decision be overturned: “No, it’s not settled law. God’s word is what is settled on this thing.” pic.twitter.com/al9Wg2fPal
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) June 22, 2023