UF survey: Wide support for legislation barring sexual discrimination

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.

Three out of four Floridians say they support legislation that protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a new UF poll shows.

Released Thursday, the poll, conducted by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service and the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research, showed 73 percent of respondents support the Competitive Workforce Act.

The state legislation updating the Civil Rights Act of 1992 has not received a hearing or reading since it was first introduced March 5 by its respective sponsors, Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando, and Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington.

The legislation has been filed every year since 2007 in its current form but has never received a hearing.

“This isn’t really surprising,” said Emma Humphries, assistant in citizenship at the Graham Center, noting the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass a law requiring background checks on weapons purchases despite overwhelming public support.

The same often holds true for the Florida Legislature, she said.

“You will see strong residential support for a measure the Legislature has no interest in considering, much less passing,” Humphries said.

The questions were inserted in the UF Survey Research Center’s monthly Survey of Floridians. The data was based on 608 surveys conducted in March with a 3.85 percent margin of error.

A major part of the Graham Center’s mission is to promote student engagement in civic life and public issues. The bipartisan center also pursues knowledge and public policy initiatives that serve the well-being of all citizens.

And even though it looks as though the Competitive Workforce Act is not getting a hearing this session, Humphries said she hopes the survey will at least show the Legislature the level of public interest in the issue of workplace discrimination.

“We are certain it will be introduced again, and with these kind of numbers, the Legislature will be more apt to consider it,” Humphries said. “When we see strong support like this we would like the Legislature to at least have a hearing, consider it and have a public dialogue on the measure.”

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top