The Jacksonville City Council voted down a compromise anti-discrimination bill 10-9 Wednesday evening.
The hotly debated Human Rights Ordinance would have protected gays and lesbians from being discriminated against in the areas of housing and employment.
After the vote failed for the amended proposal, which removed the words "gender identity or expression," council members rejected the original bill by a vote of 17-2.
The bill generated a lot of controversy from the public and has been the topic of hours of debate.
"I've been in that boat before, discriminated against," bill supporter David Easter said. "So I know the feeling and stuff."
Easter said he knows what it feels like to be discriminated against, not because of his sexual orientation, but because of his disability.
"Hard to find a job, really. Something with benefits," Easter said. "Had to find a job not full-time but part-time."
Easter said he supported a bill that would add sexual orientation to the city's anti-discrimination ordinance in the areas of housing, employment and accommodations.
Council members said this issue had received more public feedback than others in recent years.
"If that's a lifestyle, we can't discriminate against that, but we can't press those values on someone who doesn't believe that," Kerrie Hannah said. "Everyone has their own opinion."
"I have a harder time with people who are lazy," Tracy Todd said. "I want people to do a job that makes a difference. The question is, can you do your job? It doesn't matter if you're a transgender or wherever you're from."
Some council members said it's an issue local government isn't suited to decide, while others said gays and lesbians need protection in the form of a law.