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Gay Lawmaker Says Conservative Backlash Encourages Extremism

Florida’s only openly gay legislator says Orlando’s mass shooting is an example of a deranged individual taking anti-gay political rhetoric to the, “next level.”

Democratic Representative David Richardson of Miami Beach says attempts by religious conservatives to roll back recent gains in gay civil rights encourages extremists.

“I think sometimes people who are prone to committing violent acts are emboldened by speeches that they hear from policy makers that want to roll back our advances.”

Richardson says he campaigned as an openly gay man and therefore feels a responsibility to console the LGBT community. He says he plans to speak out against a federal policy banning gay men from donating blood.

“The gay community should not be discriminated against in this regard and the gay men who want to donate blood should be allowed to do that.”

Richardson says he’s convinced blood banks have fool-proof methods for screening out blood contaminated with the HIV virus.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.