GOP lawmakers take aim at LGBTQ+ ‘safe places’ program in Mount Dora
Image via AP.

They cited boycotts of Bud Light and Target, which followed the brands’ efforts to promote diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community.

Some Central Florida lawmakers said they were considering “all legislative, legal and executive options available” to stop business owners in a small town from voluntarily displaying rainbow decals in their windows indicating that they are “safe place” for LGBTQ+ people who feel threatened.

Four Republican lawmakers — Sen. Dennis Baxley and Reps. Keith Truenow, Taylor Yarkosky and Stan McClain — wrote a letter to officials in Mount Dora two weeks ago warning that the new, optional city-sponsored program could put the Central Florida community outside Orlando “in the crosshairs of potentially detrimental and absolutely unnecessary economic harm.”

The lawmakers cited boycotts of Bud Light and Target, which followed the brands’ efforts to promote diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community.

Mount Dora’s city council approved the Safe Place Initiative last month. The city of 17,000 residents is known for its antique shops and weekend festivals.

“The mission of the Safe Place Initiative is to provide the community with easily accessible safety information and safe places throughout the city they can turn to if they are the victims of an anti-LGBTQ+ or other hate crimes,” the city of Mount Dora said on its website.

Safe Place programs are visible throughout metro Orlando — as well as throughout the U.S. — including ones sponsored by the Orlando Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, all in Central Florida.

The Council’s decision to approve the program has coincided with an uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ incidents, including vandalism last month at two LGBTQ+ centers in Orlando.

Democratic state lawmaker Anna Eskamani posted the Republican lawmakers’ letter on social media, saying it “might be the weirdest letter I’ve ever read.”

“Let LGBTQ+ (people) exist and stop politicizing everything!” wrote Eskamani, whose district is in Orlando. “So much manufactured panic from the right. Meanwhile families can’t even afford to live in Florida. Focus on that instead.”

In May, the Humans Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ rights organization in the U.S., joined other civil rights organizations in issuing a travel advisory for Florida, warning that newly passed laws and policies may pose risks to minorities, immigrants and gay travelers.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • ScienceBLVR

    September 3, 2023 at 10:03 am

    Florida Nazis can display their symbols everywhere, but no rainbows? Free speech be damned! When will Republicans stop telling businesses what to say, think, and do? But, nothing more important in this state now, right? Folks in Horseshoe Beach may feel differently…

  • Michael K

    September 3, 2023 at 10:13 am

    Why is the GOP so obsessed with legalizing hate? Germany tried that in the 1930s.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 3, 2023 at 11:00 am

      the gop couldn’t survive without hate. the title of the post is “gop target”……. well why does the gop always want to target everything they see as left or woke. hate sells and divides. good luck with that gop. go read your bible a few dozen times and then you might get it. no i don’t think that would help. they are incorrigible and deployable.

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 3, 2023 at 11:02 am

    if “safe-places” pisses them off, then they need to re-think that.

  • Dale A Arnold

    September 3, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Republicans have no solutions to real life problems so they culture war all day long! Imagine Florida is unaffordable to the average working person. Home insurance is in critical condition, auto insurance is exploding, rents are off the chain.. And Republicans focus is “safe places” for LGBT community….?
    Out of touch!

  • TJC

    September 3, 2023 at 1:46 pm

    The GOP lawmakers wrote, “We believe that you are putting the City of Mount Dora in the crosshairs…”
    See how clever they are? It’s not the writers of the threatening letter who are putting Mount Dora in the “crosshairs,” it’s the City itself that’s doing it!
    Baxley, Truenow, Yarkosky, and McClain: the four horses’ asses of the Apocalypse.

  • Sick MAGA politicians

    September 3, 2023 at 7:58 pm

    These people are just RUTHLESS. I sure hope they live pristine lives…no one in their family has any mental illness, substance abuse, alcoholism.. No one gets pregnant out of wedlock. They all go to christian schools or better yet get the 8K for homeschooling so they get to play on trampolines. These people are SICK. LET people live their lives and you live yours.

  • PeterH

    September 3, 2023 at 9:31 pm

    Republican stupidity is endemic and endless! The once great State of Florida is under the spell of stupid.

  • Richard C. Russell

    September 4, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    This is the USA. All legally permitted things, people and even weirdos allowed under the Constitution do, do not need special signs. Erecting such signs rubs those disgusting activities in the face of the 90+% who do not personally engage in or support those activities. We straights don’t erect signs opposing your freakish behaviors, except when you put on your disgusting acts, especially in the presence of minors! America is a Judeo Christian based Constitutional Republic. If that dies not suit you, there are many, many other countries where you may reside and practice your perversions!
    Assimilate in the USA or LEAVE to a country where you will feel welcome!

  • WhatNow

    September 4, 2023 at 11:26 pm

    Someone needs to tell Baxley, Truenow, Yarkosky & McClain to go f**k themselves 😉

Comments are closed.


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