JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 4, 2016 — Today Jacksonville City Council members Aaron Bowman, Tommy Hazouri and Jim Love filed a fully-inclusive human rights ordinance bill to protect members of the gay and transgender community against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
“We are confident 2017 will be the year Jacksonville passes a fully-inclusive human rights ordinance to ensure all people who live, work and visit in our city will not have to face discrimination,” said Dan Merkan, chair, Jacksonville Coalition for Equality. “Over the last year, the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality’s campaign has brought together nearly 200 faith leaders, 700 small and large businesses, hundreds of volunteers, and a support team led by top business and civic leaders to advocate for this much-needed bill. We look forward to the day where no person faces discrimination in Jacksonville based on who they are or who they love.”
The 2017 bill is similar to the one introduced a year ago, but with more defined and simplified language that fully protects the gay and transgender community. There are still exemptions for faith-based institutions and for businesses with fewer than 15 employees. Under the leadership of JAX Chamber chair Darnell Smith and former chair Audrey Moran, there’s been more action and support from the business community. Business leaders have cited the cost of discrimination in the wake of North Carolina’s HB2 bill which has had an estimated economic impact of close to $1 billion in lost revenue for the state.
The first reading of the bill in City Council takes place at the Jan. 10, 5 p.m. meeting. For more information, visit jaxequality.org.