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Five Years After Pulse Nightclub Shooting, Nearly 500 Florida Faith Leaders Call for Strong LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections


June 7, 2021


Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, (540) 280-3393

Joey McKinnon, jmckinnon@faithinpubliclife.org, (843) 364-4403

Five Years After Pulse Nightclub Shooting, Nearly 500 Florida Faith Leaders Call for Strong LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections 

ORLANDO – On Monday, June 7th, faith leaders from Central Florida came together at Joy Metropolitan Community Church in Orlando to commemorate the 5-year mark of the Pulse nightclub shooting, and announce their strong support for LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. At the gathering, leaders released a signed statement from nearly 500 faith leaders across Florida calling on elected officials to honor the 49 lives taken at Pulse with courage and action by supporting federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.

The petition states: “As people of faith, we believe Florida must update its existing anti-discrimination laws to include LGBTQ people and avoid passing laws that would harm Floridians by allowing religion to be used as weapon to discriminate. By failing to stand up to discrimination against LGBT people, we send an unintentional message that we condone it. We must ensure that Florida is a safe place to live, work, and play for all people, including our gay and lesbian neighbors.”

For a video of the event, click here. 

For the full petition and signers, click here. 

Pastor Joel Hunter, Chairman, Community Resource Network

“All Americans should be able to participate in all aspects of daily life with dignity and respect, without fear of discrimination. No one should be at risk of being denied housing or refused service simply because of who they are or who they love… The country needs bipartisan cooperation and solutions to the ongoing discrimination of LGBTQ people. I’m praying that Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott will help lead the way by supporting federal legislation that provides equal protection from discrimination to all.”

Rev. Terri Steed Pierce, Senior Pastor, Joy Metropolitan Community Church

“We stand in this very room that we entered 5 years ago on the morning of June 12 shocked by the news but still standing firm on God’s promises to walk WITH us through the valleys even of the shadows of death, devastated by the atrocity that happened 1.4 miles from here —to our people in our neighborhood— but determined to let love win… afraid for our friends, family and community but anchored in the hope we know God brings OUT of horror.” 

Josh Bell, Executive Director, One Orlando Alliance

“Religious discrimination is the biggest barrier to our full acceptance. I am so grateful for the faith leaders who are standing up and speaking out and saying this has to change… this has to end. Tonight, we are having an evening of reflection and promise where we reflect on the harm that was done to our community through the PULSE tragedy and we also widen the lens and look at all the harm..so much harm that has happened at the intersection of religion and LGBTQ+ identity.” 

David Williamson, Central Florida Freethought Community

“In a nation where our Constitution guarantees equal protection, it is unacceptable that people can be fired, evicted, or denied services simply because of who they are.I call on our federal legislators to honor the 49 with action. I call on them to hem up the patchwork of inconsistent protections that bold states and communities have created for LGBTQ people across the US. I call on them to pass the Equality Act in this congressional session.”

Nav Khalsa, Sikh Society of Central Florida

“We are all equal in the eyes of God. Free from fear and free to love who they love. May we pray for the entire LGBTQ community lives a life without fear, prejudice and discrimination. It is on us all to stand up to hate to live in a better world.”

Rev. Jeremy Green, St. Lukes United Methodist Church

“Orlando has been long suffering. More specifically, our LGBTQIA+ siblings have been long suffering. But it’s days like today when love compels hearts to speak out against injustices and oppression and for full equality that the beauty shines through.” 


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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