Community
3:20 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Atlantic Beach Passes Human Rights Ordinance

With a unanimous four to nothing vote, Atlantic Beach this week became the first city in Northeast Florida to adopt a Human Rights Ordinance that includes protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.  

It also bans discrimination in employment and public accommodations, as well as in housing.

Credit Ted Eytan / Flickr

One Atlantic Beach city councilman later said he actually opposes the ordinance, but voted for it in order to bring it up for reconsideration so that an absent colleague who's also against the measure can vote on it when he returns.

Dan Merkan with the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, one of the groups supporting the legislation, said he's confident the decision will stay.

“Like with any ordinance that passes, they may come to a point where they realize this part could be stronger or better and they may amend that down the road," Merkan said. "But I just can’t imagine they would reopen something up so quickly, without ever giving it a chance to function.”

The Jacksonville City Council considered adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the city’s existing Human Rights Ordinance back in August of 2012.  That measure failed.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.