Jacksonville city attorney: challenge to gay rights law ‘defective’

By : wire report
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The city attorney in Jacksonville says an initiative intended to challenge a new gay rights law cannot be legally placed on the November ballot.

The Florida Times-Union reports that city general counsel Jason Gabriel said in a memo this week that the initiative is “defective” because it would grant local voters a power they do not have. Gabriel says only the Jacksonville city council has legislative authority.

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Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance threatened on the federal level by new bill

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | Jacksonville’s City Council approved an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting the LGBTQ community less than a year ago, but those protections are already in danger at the state level.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jay Fant has introduced House Bill 871. It would allow businesses to set their policies in accordance to their religious beliefs—something Jacksonville attorney and LGBT activist Jimmy Midyette calls “insidious.”

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Watermark’s Top headlines of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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2017 was a roller coaster of a year. Our highs were marked with great achievements and big celebrations, and our lows were filled with the passing of great LGBTQ leaders and fear-filled headlines we thought we would never read.

Below we look back on the top 5 LGBTQ headlines out of Central Florida, Tampa Bay, from the state of Florida and across the nation, and the world.

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Jacksonville religious group continues to raise funds to fight city’s LGBTQ-inclusive HRO

By : Jeremy Williams
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | The anti-LGBTQ group Empower Jacksonville is continuing to raise funds in an effort to overturn Jacksonville’s LGBTQ protections added into their Human Rights Ordinance this past Valentine’s Day.

According to FloridaPolitics.com, the political action committee brought in just over $10,000 in November. This pushes the total the conservative organization has raised to nearly $32,000.

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Conservative religious group calls for the repeal of Jacksonville’s HRO protections for LGBTQ people

By : Jeremy Williams
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Empower Jacksonville, a newly formed anti-LGBTQ group in North Florida, is attempting to get two initiatives put onto the 2018 ballot that would strip away protections from the city’s Human Rights Ordinance based on people’s sexual orientation and gender identity, according to The Florida Times-Union.

The group, which introduced itself at a news conference last month at Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church, announced they would begin attempts to collect signatures for the two initiatives immediately with the hope to have both on the ballot in August 2018.

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We look at St. Petersburg’s (partisan) non-partisan primary mayoral race between Baker and Kriseman

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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On August 29, St. Petersburg could choose its next mayor. According to the Pinellas County supervisor of elections, 169,770 residents of the city will be eligible to vote in the upcoming primary election, meaning that 169,770 residents of the Sunshine City will have one of three choices that day.

First, to elect the next mayor. Second, to send two candidates to a run-off election in November, should no one receive 50 percent plus one of the vote. Or third, to stay home and let every other eligible voter decide on their behalf.

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Jacksonville City Council finally approves Human Rights Ordinance

By : Billy Manes
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JACKSONVILLE – It was a Valentine’s Day to remember as the Jacksonville City Council, after years of effort, pushed through additions to the already existing Human Rights Ordinance that will now recognize sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, the ordinance protects minorities in housing and employment, among other necessities, and more broadly signals a change in Jacksonville’s historically conservative culture.

“Jacksonville is such a conservative area. It really is part of the deep south in the way that most cities in Florida are not,” Equality Florida field director Amber Paoloemilio says. “There really is a tangible shift and it’s really because of the community we’ve been building over the past few years.

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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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North Port to vote on Human Rights Ordinance

By : Staff Report
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The North Port City Commission will vote on a city wide Human Rights Ordinance Oct. 13.

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

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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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Atlantic Beach to vote on Human Rights Ordinance Dec. 9

By : Jamie Hyman
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Atlantic Beach, Fla. – The Atlantic Beach City Commission took a step toward creating a Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) at a meeting on Nov. 25, where commissioners decided to have city staff write language for the policy.

If approved, the HRO would protect LGBTs against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations by preventing discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual identity  and gender identity.

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Atlantic City Beach to consider adding a human rights ordinance

By : Staff Report
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Atlantic Beach – The fight for LGBT equality has moved to one north Florida beach community, Atlantic Beach, where City Commissioners are considering a Human Rights Ordinance.

A public workshop is scheduled to discuss the issue on Nov. 25.

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