The Tampa City Council should be commended for expanding non-discrimination protections to those who live, work and visit the city. Tampa is the latest city in Florida to add "gender identity" to its human rights ordinance that bans discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation.
Today's action comes at the request of the Tampa Human Rights Council led by its Chair, Phil Dinkins. Equality Florida has worked closely with the council in the months leading up to today's vote and assisted with documenting the clear need for such protections.
Equality Florida was born out of the struggle to expand Tampa's non-discrimination protections so they include the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Today's vote, while long overdue, makes it clear that Tampa is a leader in Florida when it comes to protecting its citizens.
One extreme right organization launched an effort to derail today's vote, but Equality Florida members and allied organizations including Pride Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough LGBT Democratic Caucus stepped up and sent 3,096 emails to various Tampa City Council members encouraging them to stand strong in their conviction to protect all citizens. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, BB&T Bank, PepsiCo/FritoLay and other leaders in the business community spoke out debunking wild claims by the opposition by recounting the positive impact inclusive policies have had for their companies.