At 1:30 AM this morning, the Mayor and City Council of Palm Bay voted 4-1 to reject a proposed ordinance that would have added “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” and “gender expression” to its non-discrimination policy that applies to employment and public accommodations, including churches, religious organizations and businesses. Liberty Counsel provided a letter analyzing and detailing the clear danger and far-reaching consequences this ordinance posed to the Palm Bay community. The hearing lasted for 6½ hours and had more than 80 speakers, including pastors representing a wide variety of churches, individuals and community leaders, along with about 1,000 people in the chamber, in the hall, and in an overflow room. There was overwhelming opposition to the ordinance.
“This is a victory for religious freedom in Palm Bay. I am encouraged that so many pastors and people from the community showed up to stand for religious freedom. This ordinance would have put government on a collision course with churches and people of faith. The ordinance would also have placed women and girls at risk by allowing men to invade their restrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities. Those pushing this radical LGBT agenda want to criminalize Christianity and outlaw certain passages from the Bible. The people overwhelmingly rejected this terrible ordinance,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
The proposed ordinance would have directly infringed on the religious freedom of churches, religious organizations, businesses, and individuals. The ordinance would have banned churches from following Biblical teaching in employment or use of facilities, and would have given a right to men to invade the private restrooms for women if the men “identified” as women. The ordinance could have forced churches providing food for its weddings, or any church with regular community meetings in its fellowship hall, to host wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. The ordinance required that nurseries and day cares supported, even in part, by public funds, allow cross-dressing in front of children. Such ordinances make no sense and provide opportunities for great harm.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.