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'Six Words' Documentary Spotlights Jacksonville's HRO Controversy

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The new documentary film Six Words will tell the story of inclusion - or lack of inclusion - of the LGBTQ community in the City of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance.

"It's an issue with political, economic and social ramifications extending far beyond our city’s borders," says Emmy- and Edward R. Murrow-award winning producer Bill Retherford.

The title refers to the six words that would have updated the city's HRO to provide equal protection to Jacksonville's LGBTQ community. The measure failed last summer in a controversial, 10-9 vote. Council members refused to provide protection from jobs and housing discrimination based on "sexual orientation, gender identity or expression." Those six words would have been added to the ordinance, which bans discrimination against other groups based on categories such as race, age, and gender.

Jacksonville is one of the few large cities in the country without an updated HRO covering gays and lesbians.

Retherford says many prominent Jacksonville citizens are assisting with the project, including UNF president John Delaney, former mayoral candidate Audrey Moran, Haskell Company CEO Steve Halverson, OneJax Executive Director Celeste Krueger, and more.

Retherford says the film shoot is in full swing, and he's using crowdfunding on Indiegogo to get to the finish line. You can learn more and make a contribution here.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.