After signing the controversial transgender sports ban this week, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has been blasted for stripping all funding for LGBT programs from the newly-signed state budget.
Gov. DeSantissigned SB 1028, effectively banned transgender children from competing in women’s sports, which has been criticized for taking place on the first day of pride month.
Now on the second day of pride month, Governor DeSantis has vetoed LGBTQ support measures, such as money earmarked for mental health programming to support survivors of the Pulse Massacre, another to house homeless LGBTQ children, and one to fund Orlando’s LGBTQ Community Center.
The 2016 mass shooting was one of the worst in United States history, carried out by a ISIS terror group sympathizer that targeted Central Florida’s LGBTQ, claiming the lives of 49 people.
“Let’s be clear about what this is: Governor DeSantis has declared war on Florida’s LGBTQ community,” said Brandon Wolf, Media Relations Manager for Equality Florida and survivor of the Pulse massacre. “Before the 2019 Remembrance Ceremony, Governor DeSantis stood on hallowed ground, steps from where I escaped the building in 2016, and promised me that he would always support those of us impacted by the Pulse nightclub shooting. Today, almost two years later to date, he vetoed mental health services for us. I will never forget.”
Equality Florida, an advocacy group for civil rights protections of gay Floridians, has criticized DeSantis’ neglect of the funding as the state currently holds a $6.6 billion surplus which they credit to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Openly-gay Florida State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who represents Floridians living in the area also questioned DeSantis’ actions.
“What message are LGBT people meant to receive from DeSantis other than that this is an insult? The Orlando community right now is bracing for the 5-year remembrance, and for @GovRonDeSantis to veto funding for Pulse survivors and families is just cruel,” tweeted Rep. Smith
Yesterday, LGBTQ advocates rallied across the state from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale in opposition to Governor DeSantis signing the Transgender Youth Sports Ban, the first anti-LGBTQ bill passed in Florida in 24 years. Equality Florida will continue the work of protecting trans kids and holding lawmakers who openly discriminate against our community accountable.