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.
“In recent years, organizations across the country have been leading discussions and spirited debates about this topic,” Curry said in a written statement to WJCT. “While there are widespread opinions and thoughts surrounding it, I am most concerned about Jacksonville citizens and commit to learning more to determine local solutions that address local needs.”
The other two “conversations” are scheduled to be held at Edward Waters College Dec. 3 and at Jacksonville University Dec. 15. The public is invited to attend any of the three sessions.
The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality released a statement from its chairman, Dan Merkan, upon hearing the news.
“We hope these conversations lead us to extend equal rights to all Jacksonville residents by adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city’s existing human rights ordinances,” Merken said.
Jacksonville is the only major Florida city without protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, despite being the Florida metro area with the highest percentage of LGBT residents, according to a report by the Jacksonville Office of General Counsel.