Mayor: HRO amendment unnecessary

Lenny Curry bans discrimination in city hiring, by contractors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry sent an email to city of Jacksonville employees Friday afternoon, saying he'll issue a policy barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in city hiring, but he will not support current proposals to add similar language to the city's Human Rights Ordinance.

In his note, he would bar "all forms of employment discrimination upon any bases" in city hiring and would apply that to any venders doing business with the city.

"Based on the extensive community discussion and the actions that I have taken and directed, I have concluded my review, analysis and determination of this issue, and as such, I do not believe any further legislation would be prudent," he wrote.

Curry wrote he came to this decision after hosting three community meetings, reviewing 500 comment cards and met with many business, civic, faith and community leaders.

READ: Curry's email to city employees |
Jacksonville Coalition for Equality statement

Two proposals to add language protecting lesbian, bisexual, bisexual and gay persons from discrimination in employment or housing are pending before City Council. One calls for the issue to go before voters in a referendum and the second proposes a council vote on the topic. 

At a City Hall meeting Friday, much discussion centered around how a law preventing discrimination on sexual orientation would effect people's selection of which bathroom they would use. Councilman Jim Love also said churches and businesses with fewer than 15 employees should be exempt of any new rules.

"I want to make sure that the small business folks are protected in a good way, as well as the religious institutions, that they are protected in the way they'd like to be protected," Love said.

Councilman Tommy Hazouri, one of two sponsoring lawmakers, said if the LGBT amendment fails this time around, he will continue proposing it until it passes.

The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality released a statement saying it still believes the amendment is needed, but called Curry's move Friday a positive development.

“The mayor pledged to listen to the community and find a Jacksonville solution to the discrimination that those conversations revealed,” said Dan Merkan, chair of the coalition. “We thank Mayor Curry for keeping his word and for taking this important step in providing protections for those who work or do business with the city. Now we are focused on ensuring that those same protections extend to all who live and work and visit our city."

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