FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 14, 2017
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, (786) 363-2737
JACKSONVILLE, FL - The Jacksonville City Council passed an ordinance updating the city’s non-discrimination laws to include protections for LGBT people, but also creating specific exemptions that only apply to discrimination against LGBT people.
Responding to today’s vote, ACLU of Florida political director Kirk Bailey stated:
“It is significant that one of the largest cities that had not yet done so has acknowledged that LGBT people deserve explicit protection against discrimination. However, this ordinance falls short of fully providing those protections.
“The broad religious exemption included in this ordinance legalizes discrimination against LGBT people and only LGBT people. Jacksonville’s laws already ensure that religious organizations can conduct their religious activities as they see fit, and protecting LGBT people doesn’t change that. But the exemption in the ordinance will allow a religiously-affiliated school to fire a gay janitor, or a religiously-affiliated homeless shelter to turn away a transgender person or a same-sex couple. It sends the message that Jacksonville thinks that LGBT discrimination is different, and more legitimate, than other forms of discrimination – and even permissible for certain institutions.
“Today’s vote was an important milestone, but it is not the end of this fight. We intend to continue working in the community until LGBT people in Jacksonville enjoy full and equal protection under the law."