This guide was written by Francine Carrel, Assistant Editor of Guides.Global (email@example.com).
It was written on 26 October 2016. The law and practice in the US change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.
Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.
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This guide looks at the age of consent, gender equality, abortion laws, gay rights and transgender rights in the US.
It describes, in particular, the situation in Florida. United States law can vary from state to state.
Read also our more general Guide to Sex, Sexuality & Gender Issues in the US.
Typically for the south of the US, Florida is moving forward on some issues of equality and staying put on others. The cities of the state have thriving gay communities - and yet prominent politicians in Florida have often opposed LGBT rights.
So, unsurprisingly, LGBT rights are a hot topic in Florida, especially following the tragic mass-shooting in an Orlando gay nightclub in June 2016. A large conservative population means that gay rights are often opposed in the state.
The age of consent in Florida - for heterosexual or homosexual couples - is 18 years old.
Close in age or 'Romeo & Juliet' exceptions do apply: minors aged 16 or 17 can have sex with a partner aged no more than 23 years old.
WalletHub's 2016 index for gender equality puts Florida at 27 out of 50 states when it comes to equality for women (with 50 being the least equal).
The gender wage gap in Florida is smaller than the national average - 85 cents to the dollar rather than 80.
25% of State legislature seats in Florida are held by women. You can get more information from the Center for American Politics and Women.
Abortions are illegal after 24 weeks, with possible exceptions to save the life or health of the pregnant woman
A woman must receive counselling before an abortion. She must wait for 24 hours between the conselling session and the abortion procedure
An ultrasound must be carried out before an abortion takes place. The woman must be offered an opportunity to view the image
If the pregnant woman is a minor (under 18), her parents must be informed before the abortion is caried out
Public funding is not usually available for abortion. Exceptions are made in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
Florida does not offer paid leave to new mothers or fathers.
US legislation makes provision for 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This is a very small allowance compared to most other countries (see below).
As in the rest of the US, gay marriage is now legal in Florida
The age of consent for homosexual activity is the same as for heterosexual activity (18 years old)
Same-sex couples may adopt children as of 2015
LGBT people are not protected under Florida's anti-discrimination laws, which means that it is legal to fire or turn somebody away from housing due to their sexuality or because they are transgender. A move to change this was quashed in February 2016
However, many localities of Florida have introduced protections and according to Equality Florida Action, Inc, 53% of Floridians "live in a place that protects them from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity"
A person can only legally change their gender in Florida if they show proof that they are in the process of receiving, or have received, gender realignment treatment
Current Florida Governor Rick Scott has often opposed gay rights
Controversial 'conversion therapy' for minors has not been outlawed in Florida, though it has been banned in Miami Beach.
You can get an idea of how LGBT-friendly certain cities in Florida are by checking the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index (MEI).
According to Equality Florida Action, Inc:
Florida law provides increased penalties for hate crimes based on sexual orientation and has been interpreted to include hate crimes targeting the transgender community as well. Adding explicit protections for gender identity and expression to our state hate crimes statute continues to be a priority.
However, gender identity or expression are not explicitly covered by hate crime legislation.
There were 32 reported hate-crimes against LGBT people in 2013 - but critics have pointed out that many possible hate crimes are not classed as such by investigators.
Have you had any experience with any of the areas covered in this guide? Share them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Conditions for LGBT people in Florida are improving, but there are still problems. Check out the city you're considering for local protections.
|Guide to Sex, Sexuality & Gender Issues in the US
A wider picture on these issues
I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.Francine Carrel 26 October 2016
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