Largest US gay rights group issues Florida travel advisory for alleged anti-LGBTQ+ laws
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The largest LGBTQ+ rights organization in the U.S. joined other civil rights organizations Tuesday in issuing a travel advisory for Florida, warning that newly passed laws and policies may pose risks to minorities, immigrants, and gay travelers.
The Human Rights Campaign joined the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and Equality Florida in issuing travel or relocation warnings for the Sunshine State, one of the most popular states for tourists to visit in the U.S.
While the LGBTQ+ advocacy group said it wasn’t calling for a boycott or making a blanket recommendation against visiting Florida, it said it wanted to highlight new laws passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature that they said are hostile to the LGBTQ+ community, restrict abortion access and allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
"Those who visit must join us in their vocal opposition to these dangerous policies," Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "Those who pick another place to work, to go to school or to spend their vacation should make clear why they’re not heading to Florida."
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Last weekend, the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, issued its advisory warning that recent laws and policies championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers are "openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals."
After the NAACP made its announcement, DeSantis’ spokesman, Jeremy Redfern, called the travel advisory "nothing more than a stunt."
"As Governor DeSantis announced last week, Florida is seeing record-breaking tourism," Redfern said in a statement.
More than 137.5 million tourists visited Florida last year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, according to Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency. Tourism supports 1.6 million full-time and part-time jobs, and visitors spent $98.8 billion in Florida in 2019, according to last year’s figures.