Florida GOP lawmakers submit late batch of anti-LGBTQ bills just ahead of 2020 deadline

State GOP lawmakers in Florida introduced a series of anti-LGBTQ bills Monday, narrowly beating the 2020 legislative deadline. 

If passed, the four bills would nullify the protection of LGBTQ employees, legalize controversial "gay conversion therapy" and threaten physicians with up to 15 years in prison if they provide particular transition-related healthcare to transgender youth, ABC News reports.

Conversion therapy is banned in over a dozen states and Washington, D.C. According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the practice centers on the belief that being LGBTQ is abnormal or unnatural.

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The bills were reportedly introduced by Republican state Reps. Anthony Sabatini, Bob Rommel, Michael Grant and Byron Donald, and state Sens. Keith Perry Dennis Baxley and Joe Gruters.

The combination of representatives and senators means that the bills have versions in both the Florida House and Senate.

"This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida legislature in recent memory,” Equality Florida Public Policy Director Harris Maurer said.

"It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections," he added.

Baxley, a sponsor of the bills, defended them to ABC on Thursday, saying "My sole interest is the well-being of a child."

"I'm not trying to address the whole phenomena of how we're adapting to the changes in mores and views on LBGTQ community," he noted. "I don't share their views, but I have no condemnation of anyone, OK. To me, those are personal issues."

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Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones (D), the state's first openly gay African American legislator, immediately spoke out against the proposed legislation.

"It's shameful that Republican lawmakers are wasting tax dollars attacking Florida's most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people's lives," Jones said.

"Clearly they've decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state's incredible diversity."