Jacksonville passed a Human Rights Ordinance June 9, which will protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

An HRO is a policy passed in a city or county to prohibit discrimination based on certain characteristics like race and sex. Many now include sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. 

Jacksonville’s HRO now includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

This means that LGBT people will not be turned away if, for example, they wanted to rent a hotel room or dine in a restaurant. Before, LGBT people could be refused employment, fired from a job, or denied a house based on their sexual or gender identity.

Equality Florida thanked local leaders and called the passage a victory: “Thank you to sponsor Council Member Aaron Bowman, Jacksonville City Council District 3, the seven ordinance cosponsors (!), and local partners like Jacksonville Coalition for Equality.”

Phil Perry, the Communications Director of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus and a Jacksonville resident told Watermark: “No one should ever be fired from their job or denied housing because of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. I’m grateful the City Council said yes to equality and no to discrimination. As we observe Pride Month, let’s also celebrate that Jacksonville is a welcoming community.”

The city had passed a similar ordinance in 2017 but it was ruled unenforceable May 1, 2020. So the city quickly took it up and passed it again with a 15-4 vote.

A court of appeals had ruled it unenforceable based on a technicality.