Out-of-state PAC slams Joe Gruters for LGBTQ bill
Lights, camera, action: Joe Gruters' bill to establish a film production program cleared its first committee.

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Gruters maintains his bill is common sense.

The Texas-based Courageous Conservatives PAC wants Florida’s governor to take a stance against “virtue-signaling” LGBTQ workplace protections.

Christopher Ekstrom, committee chairman, called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to pre-emptively threaten to veto the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act.

If signed into law, the bill would encourage a frenzy of frivolous but costly lawsuits from troubled men who believe they are women,” Ekstrom said. “Worse, it would force school districts to hire transgender teachers — even for the younger grades.”

The bill (SB 438), sponsored by state Sen. Joe Gruters, would outlaw workforce discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The legislation has drawn criticism from the left and the right. Advocacy groups like Equality Florida favor rival legislation, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, that extends similar protections for housing and business discrimination.

But Gruters also angered social conservatives with his bill.

Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger last month called on Gruters to resign as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida after he filed the bill.

The Sarasota Republican maintains the bill respects individuals and will be an important step forward for the state attracting major corporations.

“My bill is common sense,” he said. “You shouldn’t be penalized for something you have no control over.”

And he said this legislation puts aside some of the most controversial parts of the Competitive Workforce Act.

The legislation has started to attract attention from outside Florida. Courageous Conservatives PAC on its website said the organization supports conservative causes and campaigns around the country.

“We’re sick of seeing conservative candidates outpunched by weak ‘moderates’ who lie about their own records of failure and appeasement while attacking strong conservatives fighting for what we believe,” the group said.

While the group didn’t join in on calling for Gruters’ ouster as chair of the Republican Party of Florida, Ekstrom questioned his motives.

“It’s always sad when Republicans sell out their base, in a futile attempt to imitate the ludicrous PC virtue signaling of the unhinged Democrats,” Ekstrom said. “Gov. DeSantis needs to end this madness, and pre-emptively announce his intent to veto Gruters’ dangerous bill.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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