As we slowly pivot away from Orlando (this morning’s television news programs are at this moment showing the following:  CBS This Morning – Tony Hale from “Arrested Development” and “Veep,” Fox is featuring John Stossel  telling us how awful government regulation is, CNN has John Walsh of “America’s Most Wanted” fame and MSNBC is covering the DisneyWorld tragedy and as any chance of passing worthwhile gun legislation – banning assault weapons – drowns in a fog of which “list” to use, how to protect our “freedoms” and “civil rights” and the President does his standard appearance at yet another mass slaughter, and as expressions of grief, sorrow, horror, compassion and undying pledges of love everlasting begin to fade, we are almost done with the entire spectacle of “post mass shooting” public rituals that we go through every time there's another mass slaughter. 

Do I sound bitter?  If I do, you have it right.  Why?  Well take what life is like for gay men and women and the entire LGBT community who live in Florida, our fourth most populous state in the United States with a population of 19.5 million people.  Florida has a fairly substantial African American, Latino, immigrant and gay community so it’s not quite like Vermont or North Dakota where there are no such communities or if they exist, are pretty much invisible.  Not so in Florida where Walton Acres in Fort Lauderdale has been termed a “gay ghetto” and you can’t walk on a sidewalk in South Beach without tripping over the high heels of a drag queen out of costume for the day. 

So one would think that the Florida State Legislature would be attuned to the polyglot nature of its population and propose and enact legislation that reflects this diversity.  But certainly when it comes to the LGBT community,  this has not been the case.  As the recent exchange between the State’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi and CNN reporter, Anderson Cooper, so beautifully illustrates.  Anderson was questioning Bondi about the highly critical comments he’d heard from Orlando’s gay community members about the hypocrisy she was exhibiting saying how much she was “with” the gay community as a result of the Orland carnage.  You’ve probably seen the exchange but let’s look at it again since it is one of the few examples of what used to be called "journalism" around today:

Kudos to Anderson Cooper and to CNN for a rare pushback of blatant Republican hypocrisy.  We need a great deal more of this.

It’s axiomatic that any and every State Attorney General is sworn to defend the laws of the State for which they work regardless of their personal feelings and beliefs about any given issue or law.  This is how Pam Bondi could have responded from the git go when Cooper posed his questions.  But she did not.  She seemed to get all flustered, nervous and didn’t know what to say.  And, for good reason.  Because if you are gay this is what you face – despite volumes of pity, sorrow, grief and pledges of support and solidarity – anti-gay sentiments, laws and hypocrisy (so chillingly illustrated by Pam Bondi and her lame radio pronouncements slamming Cooper) if you live in Florida, The Sunshine State:

Republican Rick Scott and the Republican led Florida State Legislature, passed a law to outlaw same sex marriage after the Supreme Court ruled that such bans were unconstitutional.  The State not only bans same sex marriage but also bans civil unions between same sex couples.  And if you are a gay couple and want to adopt a child, in Florida you were out of luck between 1977 and 2013 when after years of litigation and court decisions declaring this law unconstitutional, the Legislature repealed the 1977 ban less than three years ago.  While several counties in Florida ban discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and sexual identity, there is no state law that does the same.  In 2015 Florida state legislator David Richardson – a Democrat of course – introduced a bill to ban gay conversion therapy.  The bill never made it to the floor and died in a subcommittee.  Most recently, Florida Representative Frank Artiles (R – naturally) introduced Florida’s own version of North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill.”  And just three months ago, Republican Governor Rick Scott signed the state’s “Pastor Protection Act” that shields religious organizations and individuals from lawsuits for refusing to serve same sex couples.

Even though one thinks of North Carolina, Georgia or Mississippi as among the most anti-LGBT southern states, Florida is right up there when it comes to anti-LGBT legislation.  This despite a sizable gay population, extensive annual Pride celebrations in the state’s communities, and even  Disney World’s internationally celebrated “Gay Days” that killer Omar Mateen allegedly attended. 

So as Florida, the nation, the world pivots away from massaging the Orlando atrocity, - Wait - I do not believe this – as I am typing CNN is interviewing asshole Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott.  Here’s what he saying: “I went to two viewings” “I consoled folks who were grieving” "I grieved with the families”   “ I will continue to go to viewings” “I will make sure the families have the resources they need” and at this moment he is dodging – for the second time – a question about gun control.  His response:  “A gun didn’t kill these people.  The Second Amendment didn’t kill anyone.  ISIS did.  An Islamic terrorist did.”  “We keep letting in terrorist immigrants into the country.”   He simply will not or cannot acknowledge that the lack of an assault weapons ban contributed to the Orlando atrocity.  Or that Omar Mateen targeted Pulse for reasons that had nothing to do with ISIS or radical Islam. He simply pivots back to ISIS, radical Islam, ISIS radicalization, ISIS, ISIS, ISIS, our national safety zone when it comes to mass carnage perpetrated with AR-15's and Sig Sauer MCX's.   

Republican Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has gleefully signed every single anti-LGBT piece of legislation the Republican controlled Florida State Legislature has put on his desk.  This man has ZERO right to "console" any of the 49 family members whose brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends and family members were killed in cold blood in Orlando.  It is a disgusting, stomach churning display of cruel, vicious, heartless and monstrous public theater.   He is an insult to everything that defines the rest of us as human beings.    

This, people, is what needs to change.  That any Floridian – black, white, old, young, gay, straight - could vote for this piece of dog shit is simply impossible to comprehend.  

But this is the environment, this is the reality that every single gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender individual faces as they go about their daily lives in The Sunshine State of Florida.  No we don’t have Sharia Law here in the United States but Governor Rick Scott and the Florida State legislature are acting as if an American version of Sharia Law would be a good thing for Florida.  But the 49 dead men and women in Orlando?  They no longer have to worry about Florida's anti-LGBT hate laws do they.  

Vote Blue Like Your Life Depends On It. 


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