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City Election 'Great Night' for Jacksonville LGBT Community

Shannon LeDuke

Several new members of the Jacksonville City Council ran on the platform of supporting an expanded human-rights ordinance that would protect LGBT people.

Advocates say they are confident the new makeup of the council will lead to its passage after the council voted it down three years ago.

“To me, it was a great night for equality in Jacksonville,” said Jimmy Midyette, the chair of the Northeast Florida LGBT Leadership Action Pac.

He says voters overwhelmingly chose candidates in favor of protecting the LGBT community from discrimination.

“I think that says something important about the city of Jacksonville on the fact that we are moving forward.”

But even if the Council approves a protections for gay and transgender people, Mayor-elect Lenny Curry could veto them. Curry has said he doesn’t believe discrimination exists in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Coalition for Equality Chair Dan Merkan says he’d like the chance to prove otherwise.

“I think if we have an opportunity to meet with him and present him with some of the different studies that have actually happened in Jacksonville, I think the evidence would be very compelling to him.”

When a mayor vetoes a bill, the Jacksonville City Council can override the veto with a simple majority or two-thirds of members present.