September 18, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 17, 2015
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Pensacola City Council voted to workshop a proposed ordinance that would prohibit discrimination in work and public accommodations based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status and other categories, as well as updates existing protections against housing discrimination.

The vote puts the ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Brian Spencer, on the agenda of a future workshop meeting during which changes to the language of the proposed ordinance could be made.

Responding to the vote, Sara Latshaw, North Florida Regional Director for the ACLU of Florida, stated:

“We strongly believe that the ordinance as proposed by Councilman Spencer is an excellent expression of the values of our community and are disappointed that the city council chose not to pass it as authored. However, we remain hopeful that the workshop process will still result in an ordinance that proves that Pensacola is a city that sees its citizens as its greatest strength.

“People in Pensacola know that discrimination has no place here. Everyone should have the opportunity to earn a living, have a place to live, and be treated equally and with dignity in the eyes of the law. Protections like those in the human rights ordinance enjoy broad majority support and are already in place in many cities and counties across the state and country. Making the values of fairness and respect a part of the Pensacola city code not only makes sense, but is long overdue.

“I once again offer my thanks to Councilman Spencer for his leadership on the Human Rights Ordinance. I would also like to thank the many people from the community who came out to share their stories and stand in support of this important ordinance. I am sure that those people will remain engaged throughout the workshop process to ensure that ordinance's protections remain as robust as they currently are that Pensacola has a strong local anti-discrimination law that gives everyone in the city the dignity and fairness they deserve."