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Lawsuit Filed to Invalidate Jacksonville’s Recently Passed Human Rights Ordinance


A legal group that has fought against same-sex marriage helped a Jacksonville man file a lawsuit Monday to invalidate the recently passed Human Rights Ordinance laws, prohibiting discrimination against the LBGT community.

Roger Gannam, a Liberty Counsel lawyer, said the Jacksonville HRO was written too vaguely under Florida law and the authors of the HRO removed language required for the bill without outlining the changes it would make.

He said none of the 28 sections or subsections are detailed, making it appear different than a 2012 version.

“By hiding the required language, they were able to repackage this and sell this as something new and simple, when the fact of the matter is this is the same bad ordinance that was rejected before,” Gannam said.

The HRO added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories for housing, hiring and public accommodations in Jacksonville.

Despite explicit exemptions for religious institutions and affiliated nonprofits, Gannam said the bill doesn’t protect the rights of religious groups.  

The case has been assigned to Judge Adrian Soud, son of former City Council President Ginger Soud, an outspoken opponent of the bill.

Photo: “Duval County Courthouse” by Michel Curi used under the Creative Commons license.

Intern Serena Summerfield can be reached at 904.358.6317,, or Twitter at @sumserfield.