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Mayor Curry Begins Conversation About LGBT Rights, Discrimination

Cyd Hoskinson
An overflow crowd showed up at FSCJ Downtown Campus for the first community conversation about the need for a more inclusive non-discrimination ordinance.

The first of three community conversations organized by Mayor Lenny Curry to talk about the need for a human rights ordinance drew a standing room only crowd last night.

At issue is whether to expand the city’s anti-discrimination law to include protections for members of Jacksonville’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Jerry Rosenberg was among those wearing an orange and white Jacksonville Coalition for Equality sticker.

Rosenberg co-owns the Metro, a gay night club at the corner of College and Willow Branch Avenue.

He says an HRO would protect everyone’s rights.

“For me, as the owner of a gay business, I can fire someone for being straight," Rosenberg said. "There are just no protections for straight people. There are no protections for gay people, for disabled people, for elderly people. There are just no protections.”

Rosenberg says he hopes the issue will make it to the Jacksonville City Council for a vote.

Mark, a 52-year-old, who didn't give his last name, doesn’t want an HRO.

“Because we already have laws in effect to protect discrimination and all the stuff that might lead to, I guess," he said. "It might open up opportunities for people to come into bathrooms where they shouldn’t be in the bathrooms.”

There are two more community conversations scheduled.  The one on Dec. 3 at Edward Waters College will focus on religious freedoms. The gathering at Jacksonville University on Dec. 15 will examine the law and its effects on business.

  The Jacksonville City Council voted down a proposed HRO in 2012.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.