PENSACOLA, FL – Tonight, the Pensacola City Council held a public workshop on a proposed ordinance that would prohibit discrimination in work and public accommodations based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status and other categories, as well as updates existing protections against housing discrimination.
At the workshop, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida encouraged the council members to support the proposed ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Brian Spencer, and also dispelled myths circulated by opponents of the measure.
North Florida Regional Director for the ACLU of Florida Sara Latshaw, who presented at the meeting, stated:
“We were very pleased to see so many members of our community come out to show their support for this important ordinance. Discrimination is simply not a Pensacola value: this is a city where people believe that nobody should be denied services, a home, or a job simply because of who they are. We are optimistic that the council members heard that message today, that they understand that a fully inclusive HRO serves the needs of the community, and that they move forward
“It was disappointing, if not surprising, that opponents of the non-discrimination ordinance came out to repeat the same baseless myths that have been used to oppose similar ordinances elsewhere. The proposed ordinance would not change our criminal laws, and behavior that is illegal now would remain so. More than half of Floridians now live in cities or counties where these protections exist, and the kinds of things that opponents of the ordinance say could happen simply never have. It’s a myth to distract from what this ordinance is about: making the values of fairness, merit, and respect that this community holds dear into a part of our local laws.
“We look forward to working with the members of the city council to get a fully inclusive Human Rights Ordinance on the agenda for a future city council meeting and to seeing it pass."