A Florida civil rights organization representing the LGBTQ community issued a travel warning for the Sunshine State on Wednesday.
Equality Florida said it took the “extraordinary step” after receiving a wave of safety inquiries following the passage of laws that are “are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws, foment racial prejudice, and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum.”
A huge multi-colored flag flies over Ocean Drive as people participate in the Miami Beach Pride Festival on Sept. 19, 2021. (Photo by Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images)
The advisory, posted on the organization’s website, warned of risks posed to the “health, safety, and freedom” of those considering traveling or relocating to the state.
“As an organization that has spent decades working to improve Florida’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live work and visit, it is with great sadness that we must respond to those asking if it is safe to travel to Florida or remain in the state as the laws strip away basic rights and freedoms,” Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith said in a statement.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office called the advisory a stunt.
“As the governor noted previously, this type of thing is a political stunt,” DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin told Fox News. “We aren’t going to waste time worrying about political stunts but will continue doing what is right for Floridians.”
Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and the governor’s fight with Disney are both mentioned as part of the warning.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has boasted that Florida is the state where “woke goes to die.” Now the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida is urging people not to visit or move to the state. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
The organization claims DeSantis has “made the extremist policies the centerpiece of his presidential campaign strategy, has weaponized state agencies to silence critics and impose sanctions on large and small companies that dissent with his culture war agenda or disagree with his attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Last month, the NAACP’s Florida chapter voted unanimously in favor of asking the national organization to urge Black Americans to avoid visiting or moving to Florida. DeSantis dismissed the move as “ridiculous.”