All’s well in Wellington: Civil rights ordinance passes

By : Billy Manes
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wellington pic

You’re welcome! And thank you!

Thanks to the work of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council, the Village of Wellington, which encompasses a large part of Palm Beach County, has officially passed a civil rights ordinance that is LGBT inclusive. HOORAY US!

There’s still a lot of work to do, though, according to PBHRC president and founder Rand Hoch, who helped launch the “You’re Welcome” campaign. The state and the nation have yet to be so kind.

“Clearly much work needs to be done,” Hoch says to the Miami New Times. “Congress has refused to pass a bill since 1974, and Florida has failed to do so since 2007 So all the work needs to be done on the local level — and it still isn’t being done in so many parts of the state.”

Here’s the press release from PBHRC:

(Wellington , Florida) — By a unanimous vote at this evening’s meeting, the Wellington Village Council enacted a civil rights ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on  race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, pregnancy, familial status or age.

With a population of 61,485, Wellington is the largest village in Florida and the fifth largest municipality in Palm Beach County

The LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance was proposed by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) as part of the organization’s “Palm Beach County: You’re Welcome!” campaign. PBCHRC is a local nonprofit organization which is dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

“The ‘Palm Beach County: You’re Welcome!’ campaign encourages municipalities to enact LGBT-inclusive civil rights laws,” said PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch.  “These laws will educate local residents and business owners of their civil rights and responsibilities. Moreover, the laws will help attract more jobs, revenue and resources to Palm Beach County.”

“In contrast to many other states, Florida has no statewide law providing equal rights to gay, lesbian and gender nonconforming individuals,” said Hoch. “Therefore, until Congress or the Florida Legislature takes action, local LGBT advocacy rights organizations such as PBCHRC must continue to work with county and municipal leaders to protect our community form discrimination.”

“Voting to enact this ordinance was an easy decision,” said Village Council Member John T. McGovern. “Any time I can vote to further ensure all Village residents are treated equally, and that their rights and personal dignity will be protected, I will do so.”

Although Florida has sixty-seven counties, only eleven – Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Volusia Counties – have LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinances.

Wellington joins nineteen other Florida municipalities – Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Gainesville,  Greenacres, Gulfport, Key West, Lake Worth, Leesburg, Miami, Miami Beach, Oakland Park, Orlando, St. Augustine Beach, Tampa, Venice, West Palm Beach and Wilton Manors – which have enacted LGBT-inclusive municipal civil rights ordinances.

“Currently fifty-six counties and 392 municipalities in Florida have yet to take steps to prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community,” said Hoch. “Much work remains to be done in our state.”

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