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Business, labor endorse Jacksonville HRO January 17, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Business and labor groups are united in their support for legislation that is being considered by the City Council to update Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

“LGBT individuals are our neighbors, family members, friends and coworkers. Everyone should be treated equally, and updating Jacksonville’s HRO to include LGBT individuals will provide the protections necessary to accomplish this goal,” Dan Merkan, chair of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, said.  

Last week, the North Florida Central Labor Council, 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.”

Tuesday, the Jacksonville Civic Council, a group that brings together chief executives from the nonprofit, business and government sectors, announced that they were fully endorsing the measure as well, stating:

“Passage of this ordinance is a top priority for the Civic Council and the business community,” said Civic Council Chairman Ed Burr. “It is time for the Jacksonville to join the majority of Florida and U.S. cities in affirmatively protecting its citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s the right thing to do for our community and the right time to do it.”

Treating LGBT individuals and their families equally and fairly under the law is becoming an increasingly important consideration to workers and business leaders when deciding where to move. In fact, both Forbes Magazine and CNBC consider LGBT rights in their rankings of the best places to do business.  

“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,” Merkan added. “By updating the city’s HRO, we are showing the world that Jacksonville is open and welcoming to everyone.”