Leesburg passes law making sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes

By : Staff Report
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LEESBURG, Fla. – Leesburg City Commissioners passed a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity along with race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, age and sex.

The law, which passed by a vote of 3-2, is the first in Lake County and will prevent discrimination in the workplace and will make it illegal for a business to refuse service just because a customer is gay.

Commissioner Dan Robuck III proposed the ordinance to the council hoping to send the message that Leesburg welcomes everyone to their city.

“We have been elected to the position of power,” said Robuck during the commissioners meeting May 26. “With the authority comes the responsibility to do the right thing for our constituents.”

Robuck was joined by Commissioner Bob Bone and Leesburg Mayor Elise Dennison in voting yes on the law.

“We are doing this because we are proactive. Leesburg is a welcoming place,” Dennison said. “All persons are created equal and this is in our Constitution.”

Commissioners Jay Hurley and John Christian voted against the ordinance. Hurley expressed confusion as to why they were even voting on this as he did not think Leesburg had a discrimination problem.

Leesburg residence turned out to voice their opinions on whether the city commissioners should pass the law.

“[Discrimination] is here, it has happened and I have been a victim of it,” J. Scott Berry, a Leesburg business owner, said. “This is about what’s good for the city. You as elected representatives have to make the bold statement to the rest of the county that we will not tolerate discrimination.”

Joseph Poorman of Faith World Church in Leesburg said there is no reason for this law at all.

“People will be mean regardless of what an ordinance or law says,” said Poorman.

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