As Pride Months begins one leading LGBTQ organization says Florida is at-risk of losing out economically due to recent legislation.
Out Leadership’s 2023 State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index found Florida falling in the rankings.
The Sunshine state now ranks 33rd, in the bottom third for the worst states for LGBTQ+ equality.
Todd Sears, CEO of Out Leadership, points to legislation signed by Governor DeSantis, such as the Parental Rights in Education Act, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”
“These laws that have just come up are just trying to chase a boogie man and create fear but there are real economic and talent impacts to them,” Sears said.
Out Leadership’s State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index is an assessment of all 50 states' performance on LGBTQ+ inclusion.
For the first time ever, the national index found the average of all 50 states has dropped.
Out Leadership points to hundreds of bills filed across the country similar to Florida’s controversial legislation.
“Specifically for Florida, and states that have been anti-gay the last two years, we’ve seen 27% of LGBT people have left anti-gay states in the last two years. There literally is a talent flight in these states,” Sears said.
Gov. DeSantis has defended the legislation as protecting children.
Last month when he signed several bills into law that restricts transgender healthcare and bathroom use, DeSantis said Florida would “remain a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy, and kids should have an upbringing that reflects that.”
The Out Leadership Business Climate Index found Florida with a score of 50.60 out of 100.
New York had the highest score in the country, with 93.67, followed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Colorado.
Arkansas, with a score of 32, had the lowest ranking just above South Carolina and Louisiana.