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Business and Labor Leaders United in Support of the #JaxHRO, Lauding Its Economic and Human Impact January 17, 2017

Leaders in Jacksonville’s business and labor communities are the latest to lend their support to updating the city’s human rights ordinance to protect LGBT residents from discrimination.

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This morning the Jacksonville Civic Council released a letter stating that passing the #JaxHRO is the organization’s “top priority,” and urging the City Council to make Jacksonville’s economic development its top priority by passing the ordinance. In the letter, the Civic Council outlines its support for the ordinance in three points:

“1) The proposed HRO protects the LGBT community from discrimination while preserving individual rights to religious freedom and protecting small business from experiencing an undue burden;

2) It is simple, direct and specific to Jacksonville, having been developed with input from a broad spectrum of local business, civic and faith leaders; and

3) It enhances economic development opportunities by providing consistent anti-discrimination policies between private and public life.”

The Civic Council also made clear that not only does the #JaxHRO have the group’s full support, it will join other business development organizations, like the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, in “actively lobbying for the initiative throughout the legislative process.”

Civic Council Chairman Ed Burr, who has been instrumental in shaping the language of the HRO up to this point, said his organization’s support of comprehensive non-discrimination isn’t just based on the economic impact—it’s simply the right thing to do.

“The proposed Human Rights Ordinance will strengthen our economy, attract people and businesses to Jacksonville, and advance a culture of fairness and respect for all. When everyone in our community has an equal right to live and work without fear of discrimination, we all prosper.”

And the Civic Council is not the only group to recently announce that it intends to take a proactive stance toward the #JaxHRO. Last week, the North Florida Central Labor Council (NFCLC), which represents 30,000 members in the greater Jacksonville area, unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the HRO, stating:

“Organized labor and the North Florida Central Labor Council have long supported and continue to support legal protections against discrimination for all people.”

According to Jacksonville Coalition for Equality President Dan Merkan, it’s not surprising the #JaxHRO would garner so much support from organizations representing important economic interests. A welcoming business climate is important to firms and workers alike, and passing the #JaxHRO ensures that Jacksonville will have one:

“Business and labor leaders want to work in communities that will protect their employees, families and customers with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. By updating the city’s HRO, we are showing the world that Jacksonville is open and welcoming to everyone.”

The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality thanks the Civic Council and NFCLC for lending their strong support to the #JaxHRO. If you’re a local business leader who would like to join our coalition of businesses supporting the #JaxHRO, click here to learn more and sign the business pledge for equality.