In a historic moment for gay rights advocates, the Jacksonville City Council yesterday outlawed discrimination against the LGBT community.
Meanwhile the Pensacola effort, which began over two years ago, has stalled.
In September 2015, the American Civil Liberty Union, with the sponsorship of Councilman Brian Spencer a proposed human rights or anti- discrimination ordinance that would afford Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) individuals the same civil rights protections as other legally recognized minorities within the city of Pensacola.
The ordinance was tabled and a workshop.
In November 2015, the Council might for five hours. Russell Van Sickle from the Beggs and Lane Law Firm provided a legal overview of the current federal and state laws that deal with LGBT claims of discrimination. Ninety citizens offered their opinions.
The Council members then weighed in:
Council President Andy Terhaar wanted to see an administrative process included in the ordinance.
Councilwoman Sherri Myers also expressed a need of an administrative process and an enforcement mechanism within the ordinance.
Councilman Brian Spencer stated that “time is of the essence” and wants the city attorney and staff to move quickly on finalizing language so the council can vote on this ordinance soon.
Councilman Larry Johnson said he didn’t want to see this issue take as long as the food truck ordinance.
Councilman Charles Bare raised the possibility of taking the ordinance to referendum.
Councilman Gerald Wingate wanted to see the final version of the ordinance before stating a position.
Unfortunately, Councilman Johnson didn’t get his wish.
The last we heard was in May 2016 when Councilman Spencer told us: “Since the workshop, the ACLU has been reworking the most recent version of the ordinance (drafted by City Attorney Lysia Bowling) to incorporate the framework of the Florida Civil Rights Act. I envision additional collaboration involving the community before the ordinance is reintroduced.”