Jax Chamber supports HRO expansion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jax Chamber announced Tuesday that it supports amending the city's Human Rights Ordinance to be “all-inclusive.”

Two proposed ordinances before the City Council would amend the current HRO to include protections for the LGBT community.

One proposal would allow the City Council to decide if protections should be extended to the LGBT community and the other would put the issue before voters in a special referendum.

The Jax Chamber board of directors said it supports the expansion and urged the City Council to “ensure everyone in our community has equal protection against discrimination.”

“The Chamber has a long history of leading on issues of equality in our community,” Jax Chamber Chair Audrey Moran said in a news release. “We know when all of our citizens have an equal opportunity to succeed, that’s good for business and good for quality of life.”

The board of directors said it reaffirmed the Jax Chamber's 1992 Declaration of Community Values, which was made when the city was facing racial tension. The declaration said:

"We believe in the dignity and goodness of all people. Prejudice has no place in our community. As one of America’s finest cities, we can tolerate no less. The citizens of Jacksonville have the courage and conviction to affect a positive difference. To be successful, everyone must have a chance to succeed. This is our pledge. This is our hope. This is our future."

City Council is scheduled to have three full council meetings to discuss the HRO proposals before a vote is set.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry held three "community conversations" that were open to the public at the end of last year to discuss whether new anti-discrimination laws are necessary. Curry is supposed to give his opinion on how to proceed with the HRO proposals by the end of the month.