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Pastors Speak Against Inclusive Human Rights Ordinance

Lindsey Kilbride

On Thursday, around 20 black pastors spoke against an inclusive human rights ordinance at First Timothy Baptist Church on Jacksonville’s Northside.

A bill hasn’t been introduced by City Council, but if one is, it's expected to protect people based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the areas on employment, housing and public accommodations.

Reverend Fred Newbill says sexual orientation does not deserve that protection.

“We believe that the laws that are enacted at this point from the Civil Rights Act, on the federal, state and local level covers what needs to be covered,” Newbill said.

He says any other protections should be added only if voters want them, by taking a public referendum vote, and not by the City Council.

“If the people of Jacksonville pass it, we have to accept the law, or we have to accept what is voted,” Newbill said. “No, I won’t agree with it, but there are a lot of things I don’t agree with but I’m a citizen of the city.”

Newbill says he lived during the Jim Crow era and he doesn’t think this LGBT fight in Jacksonville is akin.

Last week, more than 70 other pastors signed a letter supporting an expanded HRO and said it’s important faith leaders stand against discrimination.  

Next week, the public is invited to the city’s final community forum and panel discussion on the matter at Jacksonville University.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.