JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A coalition of business organizations and elected officials are backing legislation to ban anti-gay discrimination which is set to be introduced at next week’s Jacksonville, Fla., city council meeting.
The bill would bring Jacksonville into the same posture as other large Florida cities by formally forbidding discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations — places like restaurants and hotels — based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“You shouldn’t be able to fire someone because they’re gay. You shouldn’t be able to do that in Jacksonville,” said former Mayor John Delaney, who has been active in assembling support for the bill.
The measure is being backed by a coalition of business organizations and elected officials, who are framing it largely as a tool for promoting business growth, reported the Florida Times-Union.
Jacksonville already has legislation that bans discrimination based on factors including race, gender and nationality, and the new measure would add sexual orientation and identity to that list. Delaney said he hopes to schedule a meeting with Mayor Alvin Brown about the measure. Councilman Warren Jones said he agreed to sponsor the bill after talking with retired politicians including Delaney and former Council President Matt Carlucci.
“It’s a matter of conscience,” Jones said Monday. “To me, it’s not so much whether everyone agrees with the lifestyle or not. It’s more whether you discriminate.”
Jones said he hopes to file legislation by noon Wednesday, a deadline for a bill being introduced at next week’s council meeting.