On Thursday Fort Lauderdale unanimously passed an non-discrimination ordinance that protects LGBT people in employment, housing, public accommodations in the city.
The ordinance must pass a second reading on Tuesday before it becomes law.
Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBT rights organization, is thrilled with the city’s progress on the ordinance.
“This is something to celebrate,” said Joe Saunders, the organization’s Senior Political Director. “This is the first time we’ve seen such a comprehensive ordinance brought by a municipality in Florida. It’s fully comprehensive.”
More specifically the 44 page ordinance does three things.
- Establishes a human rights ordinance in the city
- Adds domestic partnership protections
- Establishes a city wide ban on conversion therapy
“This is a transformational,” Saunders added. “We have an openly LGBT mayor and member of the council and the vice mayor who is a full throated champion.”
Michael Rajner has been pushing for an ordinance similar to this for about decade.
“Fort Lauderdale has long been problematic and slow to embrace LGBT policy. They’ve only been getting things right in the last several years and some of it has been painstaking,” he said. “Just getting this ordinance to move forward took more than a year.”
City Commissioner Steve Glassman, who is gay, took the lead on the ordinance, said: “I am thrilled that the Fort Lauderdale City Commission has voted unanimously to pass on first reading one of the most, if not the most, comprehensive LGBTQ ordinances in the State. I look forward to our final public hearing on September 17 and enactment of this law.”
It was Commissioner Ben Sorenson, who is straight, who got the ball rolling on this issue after a year of stagnation.
“In April, with Michael Rajner’s help, I connected Equality Florida leaders with our City Attorney. I asked that they work together to draft the most comprehensive LGBTQ protective ordinance for the City of Fort Lauderdale. We did just that,” Sorenson wrote on Facebook. “Thank you to our Mayor and City Commission, we moved forward towards outlawing conversion therapy for minors, affirmed a commitment to LGBTQ families in domestic partnership, and committed to advancing a citywide human rights ordinance banning discrimination against our LGBTQ community in the areas of public accommodations, housing, and employment.”