Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Pro: Answering Opponents of the HRO

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Pro: Answering Opponents of the HRO

Article excerpt

Byline: Dennis Hamilton

In its current form, Jacksonville's Human Rights Ordinance includes protections against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on religion, race, color, national origin, sex, marital status, age and disability.

Missing from protections are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.

I attended each of the three "community conversations" to address the proposed expansion of the city's HRO to include the LGBT community. The mayor and his staff are to be applauded for their efforts.

I would now like to join the debate.


- Charge: Protections already exist.

In fact, there are no statewide protections in Florida or all-inclusive federal protections at this time. It has also been suggested that, for instance, a white, American, gay man would be protected under the current HRO since color and national origin are protected classes.

If I, as a gay man, am denied service in a restaurant, evicted from housing or fired from my job for the explicit reason of being gay, the fact that I am also a white American does not protect me, as the root of the discrimination was not my color or national origin.


- Charge: There will be a flood of lawsuits if the proposed expansion is passed.

There is no statistical evidence to show that such a flood occurred in any of the over 200 city and county HROs passed across the country, or in the 19 states and the District of Columbia that have passed inclusive statewide LGBT protections. I would note that the number of HROs listed above includes those with partial and fully inclusive coverage. The LGBT community is no more litigious than currently protected classes.


- Charge: There is little documented or statistical evidence that discrimination against the LGBT community exists.

Following the second forum, JCCI said that Roger Gannam, the Liberty Counsel attorney, Orlando resident, and three-time HRO panelist, misrepresented the facts in its 2009 report by falsely claiming that the report showed little to no discrimination against the LGBT community. …

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