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Jacksonville Business Owners Gather In Opposition Of Expanded HRO

Lindsay Kilbride

A coalition of Jacksonville business owners gathered Tuesday outside of City Hall to express opposition to the proposed LGBT-inclusive Human Right Ordinance.

Small business owner and former Jacksonville City Council President Ginger Soud held a press conference announcing the formation of the small business coalition opposing the HRO and expressed her disapproval for the HRO.

“We believe at it’s core, the HRO is an anti-liberty and is just the creation of another law for disgruntled employees to hammer small businesses,” she said.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce has publicly endorsed the HRO, but some local business owners do not agree with the decision, including former president of American Enterprise Bank of Florida and longtime Chamber member Bennett Brown.

“No company has come forward and identified that they will not come to Jacksonville because of the HRO issue, and no supporter of the HRO has any evidence of one,” he said.

The expanded HRO would offer protections to LGBT people in Jacksonville. Businesses with more than 14 employees would be expected to adhere to the proposed ordinance.

The Jacksonville City Council is now considering an HRO for a third time. A vote on the measure is Feb. 14

Amy Hadden can be reached at