June 15, 2020
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Education Association (FEA) celebrates today’s landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that extends employment protection to LGBTQ individuals. Our organization has a long history of fighting for equality. This ruling is an important step in ending legalized discrimination.
At the same time, we are reminded that Florida has all too often failed to act on its own. In each of the past few legislative sessions there have been attempts to ensure any private school receiving taxpayer dollars includes LGBTQ students in their non-discrimination policy. Those measures have either never been taken up for a vote or failed along party lines when voted upon. To make matters worse, taxpayers in Florida are subsidizing many of these discriminatory private schools.
“Make no mistake about it,” said FEA President Fedrick Ingram, “the day is coming when it will be illegal for Florida’ s voucher schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students. The only question is which side of history will Florida find itself on? Will we lead the way as a state? Or, as all too often has happened in Florida, will students achieve these rights only once Florida is forced to do the right thing by the US Supreme Court?”
Every day that passes where discrimination based on sexual orientation of FIorida’s students is legal is yet another day Florida’s leaders have failed in their most basic of responsibilities, to ensure equal treatment under the law for all of Florida’s citizens.
Even as we celebrate today’s decision, we are reminded the fight for justice and equality for all is ongoing. and we will continue to fight to end discrimination against Florida’s students.
This is an incredible and hard-fought victory. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), AASA (The School Superintendents Association) and the National School Boards Association submitted an amicus brief in this case.