Atlantic Beach considers discrimination ban on sexual preference


ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – The big issue of human rights for the lesbian, gay, bi and transsexual community was taken up Tuesday in Atlantic Beach as the city commission is still considering an ordinance to ban discrimination based on sexual preference.

The city is looking at protecting the L.G.B.T community from discrimination in several categories like housing, employment, finances and applying for credit.

At a workshop on Tuesday night, commissioners talked about a range of issues within the proposed ordinance. 

It would allow people who feel they have been discriminated against to file civil lawsuits. However, churches and certain landlords would be exempt.

Commissioners determined they want to include the following in the ongoing conversation:

  • An exception from the ordinance for small businesses
  • Exceptions for landlords with four or less homes
  • Equality for loan applications
  • A special magistrate to consider complaints before going forward with a lawsuit

Supporters of the Human Rights Ordinance said it's needed because gays and lesbians are being discriminated against in Atlantic Beach. Opponents said it's unnecessary and overly broad.

The commission will meet again to fine-tune the ordinance. They didn't have a firm date when the next meeting will take place.

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