This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Florida Times-Union on 2/9/17
As a longtime Jacksonville resident and a proud parent of three young daughters, I wholeheartedly support updating Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to end legal discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in housing, employment and public accommodations.
I join this effort to pass the HRO on behalf of human rights, human dignity and equal rights for the LGBT community. Not additional rights, not different rights, just equal rights.
My primary responsibilities as a parent are to love, nurture and protect my children.
I am concerned what messages are being sent to children in this city.
And in addition to being a mother, I am a sister.
My brother, a former longtime resident of Jacksonville, identifies as a gay man. I was unaware of the suffering he experienced growing up in Jacksonville but since have learned that his suffering was most caused by the messages that were sent directly and indirectly to him about who he was and is.
He was not and is not protected in this city that I call home.
The decision whether or not to pass the HRO is up to our elected City Council officials.
Fortunately, Councilmen Tommy Hazouri, Aaron Bowman and Jim Love put forth a bill that will offer equal protection for every human being in our city.
I urge the council to pass the bipartisan, fully-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance.
That’s the city I want to live in!
As a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and citizen of Jacksonville, I ask the council to have the courage to carry the message of love and unconditional acceptance to our children and to the whole community.
Meredith Chartrand Frisch,