Palm Bay Council rejects addition of LGBT-protections to HRO

By : Jamie Hyman
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In a 4-1 vote that didn’t happen until about 1:30 a.m., the Palm Bay City Council rejected a proposal that would have added LGBT protections to the city’s existing human rights ordinance.

Councilwoman Michele Paccione proposed adding the protections, which turned out to be extremely controversial. More than 500 people attended the meeting, and according to Space Coast Pride president Lexi Wright, there was a line of people snaking around the corner of the building and into the parking lot hoping to get in. The considerable overflow watched the meeting from outside in the courtyard. After about 45 minutes of regular business, the discussion began and lasted nearly six hours.

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Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance survives motion to withdraw

By : Jamie Hyman
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An LGBT-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance is still alive in Jacksonville, despite a motion to withdraw.

At their Feb. 4 meeting, the Jacksonville City Council heard discussion on two proposals relating to LGBT protections.

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Jacksonville mayor announces “community conversations” on LGBT protections

By : Staff Report
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville will hold a series of “community conversations” led by the city’s mayor Lenny Curry over the next few weeks to discuss bringing a more inclusive Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) to the city, according to WJCT.

The first of three events will be held Nov. 17 at 6 P.M. at Jacksonville’s downtown campus of Florida State College.

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North Port approves Human Rights Ordinance

By : Jeremy Williams
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North Port, Fla. – The North Port City Commission voted 3-1 to approve a city wide Human Rights Ordinance Oct. 27.

The HRO bans discrimination against employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Fight over Houston LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance gets ugly

By : Wire Report
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HOUSTON (AP) — After a drawn-out showdown between Houston’s popular lesbian mayor and a coalition of conservative pastors, voters in the nation’s fourth-largest city will soon decide whether to establish nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people.

Nationwide, there’s interest in the Nov. 3 referendum: Confrontations over the same issue are flaring in many places, at the state and local level, now that nondiscrimination has replaced same-sex marriage as the No. 1 priority for the LGBT-rights movement.

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North Port set to have final vote on HRO

By : Jeremy Williams
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The North Port City Commission will now meet and take the FINAL vote on a Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) Oct. 27 at 5:00pm. according to Equality Florida. The County clerk verified the meeting change due to needing a sufficient amount of time to advertise the final vote. A special session has been called for Oct. 27 specifically to vote on the HRO, says the county clerk office. 

North Port, Fla. – The North Port City Commission will hold the final discussion and vote for a citywide Human Rights Ordinance Oct. 26.

The HRO, which would ban discrimination against employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, held its first vote Oct. 13 when the commission unanimously voted 5-0 to move it to a final discussion.

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All’s well in Wellington: Civil rights ordinance passes

By : Billy Manes
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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!

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ACLU backing a Human Rights Ordinance for Pensacola

By : Billy Manes
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Yesterday, during its agenda review, Pensacola City Council (via hero Councilman Brian Spencer) scheduled a hearing on a human rights ordinance for the city, specifically highlighting gender identification and sexual orientation, and, basically, all other forms of being unfair; the ordinance also seeks to update housing discrimination limits already on the books. Hooray, Pensacola! Here’s the ACLU press release. More on this in next week’s Watermark.

PENSACOLA, FL – The Pensacola City Council has scheduled a vote on a Human Rights 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.

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HRO in the works for Osceola County

By : Jamie Hyman
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Kissimmee – The Osceola County Commission is taking a step toward implementing a Human Rights Ordinance.

There’s a public hearing on the HRO set for  1:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at commission chambers in Kissimmee.

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With same-sex marriage all but a done deal, the next fight for LGBT equality is discrimination disguised as religion

By : Jamie Hyman
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Few combative issues have raised eyebrows as much as the recent string of legislation promoting “religious freedom.”

A recent push to create bills designed to protect business owners from having to engage in services that are against their religious beliefs has surfaced in more than half of our country’s states. The problem is that these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts—also known as RFRAs—are frequently wielded as a weapon allowing business owners to deny service to LGBTs.

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Anti-gay legislation moves through state, equality bills sit in committee

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tallahassee – Florida’s Legislature has been busy this year pushing through several anti-gay and discriminatory bills masked in the argument that they are to protect women and children.

The “Single-Sex Public Facilities” bill was introduced in the Florida House on Feb. 4 and would prohibit transgender individuals from using public facilities that align with their gender identities. While the bill does not use the word “transgender,” opponents of the bills say its sole purpose is targeting the transgender community.

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Hillsborough amends HRO, proceeds with registry formation

By : Staff Report
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Tampa – With a unanimous vote, Hillsborough County Commissioners passed a law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The law, which became effective immediately, re-establishes protections that were eliminated in the 1990s, when that former commission repealed amendments to its human rights ordinance protecting the gay community.

“There’s been a cultural and political shift,” said Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who pushed for the HRO amendment. “I think people are beginning to realize the importance of making sure everyone is treated equally and fairly.”

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