Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HRO Isse Demands Good Will from Everyone

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HRO Isse Demands Good Will from Everyone

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

Much like the pension crisis, another issue dragging down the city must be solved.

The emotions and volatility involved in the debate over whether to add protections for the LGBT community in the city's anti-discrimination laws were abundantly clear during the three community meetings Mayor Lenny Curry convened to discuss the subject.

Thus it has been for the last two years since the issue first went before the City Council, and thus it will be now that the council is considering two new bills.

One sponsored by Councilman Tommy Hazouri would add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to the current Human Rights Ordinance, which bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The second bill was introduced by Councilman Bill Gulliford. It would put the decision in the hands of the voters instead of the council.

Curry told the Times-Union editorial board last week that he will outline his position sometime this month.

The ugliness that came from opponents of the measure two years ago and that was repeated during the recent community meetings has already damaged Jacksonville.

A repeat during the upcoming City Council debate would do further harm.

Council President Greg Anderson has wisely chosen a path that could bring this debate to conclusion without the rancor that always accompanies it.

Instead of sending the two current bills and whatever Curry decides through the normal committee process, Anderson announced last week that the bills will be debated by the council meeting as the Committee of the Whole.

That means all council members can take part. It also means that the same things won't be said and the same questions asked over and over as would happen if several committees had the bills.

Anderson announced three meetings: Feb. …

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