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Tuesday, 12 May 2020 00:22

Court Renders Surprising Verdict On Jacksonville's Nondiscrimination Ordinance

jacksonville florida nondiscrimination ordinance rejected by court

There are days when we are entitled to wonder if they understand what this means to us?

A big boo-boo happened in Florida. Jacksonville City Council passed a Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) to protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

At first, I thought, “Awesome! One more city to put an anti-discrimination law in place.”

We’re getting more and more protection at the local level, which is reassuring.

I remind you we are still waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on the question: does the Civil Rights Act protect LGBTQ people against discrimination based on sexual orientation?

After the vote on the Jacksonville anti-discrimination ordinance, its opponents appealed and asked that the measure be declared unconstitutional.

A three-judge panel from the Court of Appeals considered the case. A few days ago, they ruled in favor of the ordinance WHILE unanimously rejecting it. Why? Because the text of the ordinance was written in a shorthand version and not in full.

As a result, the ordinance previously voted on by the city is not valid.

“Instead of setting out the full text of the amendments in context, the proposed ordinance stated that the City’s office of general counsel would write the amended ordinance later. That had not happened yet when Appellants filed their original or amended complaints. There was no full-text version of each amended provision showing the insertion of a new language,” the ruling stated.

It continued, “The only way to ensure clear, accurate, understandable, and uniform notice of proposed changes to a law or an ordinance is to put them in writing before enacting or adopting them—in full text, in context, complete as if for immediate enforcement. Without all of that, an amendment is just an idea. Ideas alone are not enforceable, which is why an amendment that fails to comply with these requirements is void.”

Following the decision, Jimmy Midyette of the Jacksonville Alliance for Equality wrote in a post: “Opponents had sought to have the HRO declared unconstitutional. Instead, the court cast no doubt on the constitutionality of our HRO and only states the council must meet the publication requirement. The City Council can take action.”

Jacksonville City Council members are happy because the court approved the ordinance and all that is required is some reworking. But how is it possible to be so stupid? As if they couldn’t write the text in a complete version right from the start! lol

Now there will be a delay before the anti-discrimination ordinance is enforced and in the meantime, maybe tomorrow, who knows, an LGBTQ person can be discriminated against in Jacksonville.

The anti-LGBT hate group the Liberty Counsel called the ruling a “victory.”

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