HRC Questions Florida Lawmaker’s Judgment For Uncivil Civics Lesson

On April 12th, The Human Rights Campaign sent out an Action Alert urging

people to contact Florida State Rep. Allen Trovillion, R-Winter Park, after

he berated and humiliated recently graduated lesbian and gay students that

he welcomed into his office on Monday. The lawmaker’s behavior illustrates

why the state legislature should pass the Florida Dignity for All Students

Act, which would extend Florida’s anti-discrimination laws in schools to

include sexual orientation and gender identity, says HRC.

“These young men and women went in for a lesson in civics and got a

lesson in incivility,” said HRC Field Director Seth Kilbourn. “When students

can’t feel safe in the state house, how can we expect them to feel safe in

the schools? Good people can find a way to disagree without having to resort

to threats and name-calling. We urge Trovillion to apologize for his remarks

because no student should feel threatened or intimidated by their

representative.”

“Representative Trovillion has disgraced and embarrassed the Florida

legislature by callously dismissing the painful experiences of these

students,” said Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith. “We call

on the governor, Trovillion’s colleagues in the Legislature and all fair

minded Floridians to stand with students who are striving to make our

schools safe.”

On Monday, Trovillion welcomed several Orlando-area high school students to

his office who were taking part in Equality Florida Youth Lobby Day 2001, an

event to promote awareness of the discrimination faced by students on

campus. The students went to offer their viewpoints on the challenges they

faced as young gay men and women in Florida’s schools. While there, the

lawmaker launched into a shockingly mean-spirited Jeremiad, vituperating

against the young constituents.

“I don’t understand why the gay population is becoming so vocal,”

Trovillion said. “You are going to cause the downfall of this country that

was built on Christian principles. You’re throwing your life away. I’m

against discrimination, but I’m opposed to this. God is going to destroy

you.”

According to the Tampa Tribune, the meeting left 17-year-old Chris Vasquez

in tears.

Vasquez, an honors student and editor in chief of Edgewater High School’s

campus newspaper, thanked Trovillion for his time but was stunned as he left

the lawmaker’s office.

“Trovillion is entitled to his religious beliefs and should be free to

express them,” said Kilbourn. “However, we question his judgment in treating

these students in such a hostile manner.”

Trovillion can be contacted at:

Phone: 850-488-0660

Fax: 407-623-1357

E-mail: trovillion.allen@leg.state.fl.us

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