Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit today to invalidate the so-called Jacksonville “Human Rights Ordinance” or “HRO” because it was adopted in violation of Florida Statutes, the Jacksonville Ordinance Code and City Council Rules. The Jacksonville City Council voted to adopt the HRO, Ordinance 2017-15, on February 14, 2017.
The HRO purports to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as “protected categories” under Jacksonville law. As stated in the lawsuit, the authors and sponsors of the HRO intentionally omitted language required by state and local law “to deceive the Jacksonville public, City Council and Mayor as to the true contents and scope of the HRO. None of the twenty-eight (28) sections and subsections of the Jacksonville Ordinance Code purportedly amended by . . . the HRO are published in the HRO, either in whole or in part.”
“The council members and activists who promoted the HRO told the public that the ordinance was different from the two prior versions that failed in 2012 and 2016—that it was ‘simpler’ and addressed the concerns of small businesses and religious organizations,” said Roger Gannam, Liberty Counsel’s Assistant Vice President of Legal Affairs. “But the truth is, this is the same bad ordinance that opens women’s private facilities to men, coerces Christian business owners to violate their consciences, and does not solve any actual discrimination problem. The HRO proponents hid the truth with intentionally deceptive messaging and by flouting the rule of law,” said Gannam.
Roger Gannam will address the media regarding the lawsuit at 10:30 a.m. today, in front of the Duval County Courthouse, 501 W. Adams St., Jacksonville.
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.