Jacksonville, Florida is the largest city in the entire state without an anti-discrimination ordinance that includes protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Indeed, the political climate can be tough. One city council member suggested that gay people weren't qualified to hold elected office because of their sexual orientation, and suggested that if gay marriage ever came to Jacksonville, the city would collapse like the Roman Empire.
Still, despite inflammatory comments like this, the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission is pushing hard for the city to adopt anti-discrimination measures on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As Mike Wachholz , chair of the Human Rights Commission said, "For me, the political climate isn't relevant. Are we going to do the right thing and the decent thing?"
The right and decent thing is for Jacksonville's City Council to adopt anti-discrimination policies that include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It's one step Jacksonville must take in order to improve its reputation when it comes to safety and acceptance, and truly become a welcoming city for all people.
Send an email to Jacksonville's City Council telling them to add sexual orientation and gender identity to their anti-discrimination policies.
Currently, the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission is putting together evidence for adding gays, lesbians and transgender people to the list of people protected from job, housing or access discrimination. Jacksonville needs to do this in order to be a city that attracts a solid work force, not to mention a younger work force and tourists, too.
Jacksonville should strive to be a welcoming place. At the moment, it's reputation is that of the largest city in the southeast without an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting employees, residents and visitors on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That should change, and you all have the power to do it.
I urge you to work hard in the coming days, weeks and months to make Jacksonville a truly accepting place for all. Thanks for your time.