North Port sends HRO to second reading for final vote

By : Jeremy Williams
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North Port, Fla. – The North Port City Commission unanimously voted Oct. 13 to send a city wide Human Rights Ordinance to its second and final reading.

The HRO, which would ban discrimination against employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, will have its final vote Oct. 26.

“Today we had a number of people show up in red shirts to visibly tell the commissioners that there is significant support in the community for this,” says Ken Shelin, Equality Florida board member and former Vice Mayor of Sarasota. “These people should show up again at the next meeting to make sure no one backslides on the city commission and that they continue to support it; unanimously by the way, that’s unbelievable.”

Shelin brought the issue of an HRO up to North Port mayor Rhonda DiFranco, who then brought it before the City Commission.

“Local cities and counties tend to recognize these needs faster than the state and national legislatures,” Shelin says. “They tend to be able to act faster as well. Since we have had difficulty in the Congress and in the Florida Legislature we have been going to cities and counties in Florida to get them to pass Human Rights Ordinances, and we have been successful so now 56 percent of the state’s population is covered by Human Rights Ordinances. That’s amazing since the state can’t even get it out of the committee.”

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