Jacksonville Passes Historic LGBT Ordinance

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The most populated city in Florida is now secure for LGBT people.

At Tuesday night’s commission meeting, the City of Jacksonville voted to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

“Love wins on Valentine’s Day!!!!,” wrote Hannah Willard, Public Policy Director for the civil rights organization Equality Florida, in a Facebook posting Tuesday night. “The Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance just passed 12-6! 1 million more Floridians will be covered by LGBT protections in the workplace, housing and public spaces.”

Related: House Bill Has LGBT Groups Concerned 

Civil rights activists have been working for years to convince leaders of the north Florida city to include LGBT people in Jacksonville’s anti-discrimination policies.

“As a transgender woman, I applaud the efforts of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, Equality Florida, and the Jacksonville City Council for helping our city take an important step today,” said Tricia Russell, Statewide Equality Florida Board Member and longtime Jacksonville resident, in a news release. “Transgender people face a disproportionate amount of discrimination and harassment in our community and our state. This law will help ensure that all people, regardless if they are gay or transgender, will have the opportunity to earn a living, rent a hotel room, or go to a restaurant without fear of being discriminated against.”

With an estimated population of more than 865,000, Jacksonville is home to multiple top tier banking, healthcare, insurance and logistics companies. A 2015 poll conducted by the University North Florida found that 62 percent of Jacksonville residents supported adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city’s human rights ordinance.