Jacksonville Bold for 11.30.16 — Will Jax liberals botch the HRO push again? – Florida Politics (blog)
Almost a year ago, Jacksonville City Councilmembers Tommy Hazouri and Bill Gulliford introduced bills related to expanding Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to cover the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Hazouri’s bill included “sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression” in the current ordinance as protected categories.
Gulliford sought a referendum on the topic … which, if the debacle in Houston with its own equal rights ordinance is any indication, could not be won.
After weeks of the HRO being national news, with even a journalist from The New York Times making her way to Cowford to cover the drama, Hazouri quietly withdrew his bill.
The reasons were myriad. People, Hazouri said in a statement, still had “sincere questions” about what HRO expansion would mean. There was a feeling that the bill was “not ready for prime time” as written.
But there was another pragmatic factor: the votes weren’t there. Maybe a half-dozen, maybe one or two more backed the fully-inclusive HRO, which ensured protections for transgender and intersex people in Jacksonville.
On a 19-person Council, that simply wouldn’t get it done.
There were also factors mitigating against the drama of the HRO taking center stage, in the form of the August pension reform referendum, and (to a lesser extent) the slots referendum on the November ballot.
At this point, the referendums have come and gone. Yet the issue of HRO expansion is still unresolved. And proponents are ready to make another try.
The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality plans a “day of action” Saturday, which includes “knocking on doors … in key neighborhoods … and making calls to supporters of an updated HRO and encouraging them to make their voices heard at City Hall.”
Also all about that action: members of the Jax Chamber, such as chairwoman Audrey Moran, who