JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request to force the St. Johns County Commission to consider a county-wide Pride proclamation, but the attorney who brought the case feels they will ultimately prevail.
The lawsuit says the county commission violated peoples’ rights to freedom of speech and equal protection by refusing to publicly consider a proclamation recognizing the county’s LGBTQ+ community.
“We were asking the federal court to put something on their agenda,” said attorney Rook Ringer, who admitted their request was for extraordinary relief from the judge. “(The lawsuit) is still going on and we’re probably going to win, it’s just not going to happen during Pride Month.”
The 13-page lawsuit was filed earlier this month by Sara Bloomberg, the founder of a group that provides resources for LGBTQ+ youth.
According to the lawsuit, this began in March, when Bloomberg emailed County Commissioner Henry Dean asking him to discuss a Pride proclamation.
It says Dean seemed open to the idea and indicated he’d bring the matter up with county staff.
It goes on to say Bloomberg got a phone call nearly two months later from a county employee which said the board would not consider the proclamation because Chairman Jeremiah Blocker “felt it was too ‘controversial’ and ‘left-leaning.’”
“This is not a left or right issue. It is not a Republican or a Democratic or Independent or Libertarian issue,” Bloomberg told News4Jax. “This is a human rights issue.”
The lawsuit also says the commission went against Sunshine Law by denying Bloomberg’s request to put the proclamation on a public agenda and says the board failed to keep “proper public records of official decisions” by “communicating this decision through a phone call and deliberately avoiding any ‘paper trail’ of this unlawful decision.”
Attorneys representing the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners declined to comment on the ruling and the case.