Report: Jacksonville lacking in LGBT protections

By : Jamie Hyman
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Jacksonville has a larger percentage of LGBT residents than any other metro area in Florida, but zero local laws in place to protect them from discrimination. That’s according to a Jacksonville Office of General Counsel report prepared at the request of outgoing Mayor Alvin Brown.

The report cites a 2015 Gallup poll reporting that 4.3 percent of Jacksonville’s residents identify as LGBT.

It provides an overview of protections provided at the federal and state level, plus the findings of a 2007-2008 survey where 86% of residents think LGBTs should receive equal treatment at work, but there it still a “thread of fear” among Jacksonville’s LGBT population, with the majority of LGBTs concerned they could lose their jobs, housing or face violence because of their sexual orientation.
That report “found substantive LGBTdiscrimination exists in employment, housing and public accommodations, but that Jacksonvillelacked any laws to protect LGBT residents from discrimination.”

The Jacksonville City Council rejected LGBT discrimination bills twice in 2012.

The new report summarizes some issues that council members should consider, “because a bill similar to the one introduced in 2012 may onceagain be considered by the City Council.”

The issues include how discrimination complaints would be investigated and the costs of investigations, the symbolic support of LGBTs that would occur should a protections ordinance be approved, and how an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance would balance with existing religious freedom legislation.

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