Jacksonville City Council approves Human Rights Ordinance, 15-4

The measure reaffirming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender protections was approved without discussion.

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With no discussion, the Jacksonville City Council voted 15-4 on June 9 to approve the Human Rights Ordinance reaffirming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender protections.

The HRO returned to Council after Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal ruled the legislation approved in 2017 was unenforceable as written. The court’s three-member panel of judges struck down the LGBT anti-discrimination provision of Ordinance 2017-15-E, declaring the ordinance unenforceable because there was no full-text version of each amended provision in the bill showing the insertion of new language, according to Council documents.

Ordinance 2020-0244, introduced May 12 by Council member Aaron Bowman, adds the language to comply with the court’s ruling.

Voting yes were Bowman, Council President Scott Wilson, President-designate Tommy Hazouri and members Matt Carlucci, Rory Diamond, Reggie Gaffney, Brenda Priestly Jackson, Joyce Morgan, LeAnna Cumber, Randy DeFoor, Terrance Freeman, Ju’Coby Pittman, Ron Salem, Garrett Dennis and Micheal Boylan.

Council members Randy White, Danny Becton, Al Ferraro and Vice President-designate Sam Newby voted no. Becton, Ferraro and Newby also voted against the measure in 2017.

Organizations representing Jacksonville’s business community, including the Jacksonville Civic Council and JAX Chamber board of directors, supported restoring the LGBT protections of the HRO.

In February 2017, Bowman co-introduced the LGBT protection language with Hazouri and former Council member Jim Love.

Council approved those protections 12-6. 

Bowman told a Council committee last week that his 28 years in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot and as commanding officer of Naval Station Mayport that shaped his support for the ordinance’s LGBT protections. 

“That has driven my entire life, ensuring that everybody has a safe country, they’ve got the right for life, liberty, happiness and that we can live in the greatest country on the planet and preserve it that way,” Bowman said.

Bowman is senior vice president of business development for JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development division of JAX Chamber.




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