The #JaxHRO just gained another high-profile supporter and business owner: Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
Khan spoke at length on non-discrimination generally and the proposed LGBT-inclusive HRO in particular during an interview with the Florida Times-Union that was part of the paper’s coverage of Super Bowl 51, which Khan attended on Sunday.
During the interview Khan described himself as a “hard-core Republican,” noting that passage of the HRO is an issue that businesses owners like himself who value competition and diversity should get behind—regardless of their political leanings.
According to the Time-Union Khan also said enshrining basic ideas of nondiscrimination in the law is a long-overdue move, especially for a world-class city like Jacksonville that wants to position itself as vibrant and welcoming.
“I’m really engaged and looking forward to getting that behind us—[equality] for everybody—race, creed, color, sexual preference, everything. We want to have that in the background and not be an issue of discussion. It’s important for the city not only because it’s the right thing, but I believe that’s not what Jacksonville is. I believe it’s an open, great city that can realize its full potential with something like the HRO.”
Khan is not the first Jacksonville sports official to speak in favor of the #JaxHRO. At a board meeting in January, JAXSPORTS members voted unanimously to officially endorse the resolution. In a letter released to City Council President Lori Boyer, JAXSPORTS Board Chair Charlie Tomm urged council members to “resolve the issue for the betterment of Jacksonville.”
And this is not the first time JAXSPORTS has gone to bat for the HRO. When the NCAA pulled championship games out of North Carolina because of the state’s discriminatory House Bill 2, JAXSPORTS President and CEO Rick Catlett lobbied NCAA officials hard to relocate the games to Jacksonville. Ultimately, Jacksonville’s lack of comprehensive local nondiscrimination protections helped send the games to Orlando instead.
That’s why 700+ local businesses—including tourism and economic development organizations—have signed on to our pledge urging the City Council to add LGBT nondiscrimination protections to the local HRO. These updates will ensure that Jacksonville remains competitive when another major sports tourism opportunity like this comes our way.
Now, thanks to efforts from organizations like these—and a groundswell of grassroots attention—the City Council will hold a final vote on the #JaxHRO on February 14th. RSVP now to let us know you’ll be at City Hall for this historic moment.