Holly Raschein via Twitter

As the U.S. Senate prepares to pass a bill banning discrimination against gay and transgendered workers, a similar piece of legislation has been filed by Florida lawmakers. The bill has failed many times before in Florida, but sponsors insist this year is different.

Florida law already prohibits employers, landlords and providers of goods and services from discriminating against someone or harassing them because of their race, religion or other attributes. The bill adds gender identity and sexual orientation to that list.

Bill Banning Gay-Conversion Therapy Filed In Florida

Oct 10, 2013
Clemens head shot
Florida Senate

Following in the footsteps of lawmakers in a handful of other states, a Florida state senator has filed a bill banning so-called “gay-conversion therapy” for children. The American Psychological Association says treatment aimed at changing sexuality hurts young people more often than it helps.

The bill would prohibit licensed mental health practitioners from trying to change the sexual orientation of a minor. Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) sponsored the bill, saying he equates "reparative therapy" with abuse.

It would be illegal for employers to discriminate based on employees’ sexual orientation or gender identity, if a bipartisan-sponsored bill passes the Florida Legislature. The sponsors say the measure should help the state attract business.

The anti-discrimination bill, called the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, would expand the protections given to all genders and ability levels, and apply them to sexual orientations and gender identities.

Mallory Wells, with the advocacy group Equality Florida, said, “Right now, you can be fired for being gay in Florida.”

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a child-custody dispute between two women. Legal experts say, the case highlights how state law does not reflect scientific advances and the variety of family structures that exist in Florida.

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a child-custody battle between two women.

There’s not a clear precedent in the state for same-sex custody disputes like this one.

The Brevard County couple conceived their daughter using one woman’s eggs and the other’s womb. But, ever since the couple split up, the birth mother has denied the biological mother custody.

Justice Barbara Pariente asked whether a biological mother should have the same constitutional rights as a man who fathers a child out of wedlock.