City Begins Weighing Options After Court Invalidates Jacksonville's HRO

May 4, 2020

Now that changes to Jacksonville’s human rights ordinance (HRO) have been struck down in a Florida appeals court, what happens next?

The Jacksonville City Council approved a measure in 2017, saying anti-discrimination laws would be amended so that LGBT people can not be denied service because of who they are.

But on Friday, a three-judge panel with Florida’s First District Court of Appeal ruled those laws had never actually been changed and kicked Jacksonville’s ordinance back to a trial judge.

City Councilman Rory Diamond said Monday there are a couple of options going forward.

“First, we’re going to let the Office of General Counsel evaluate all of our legal options to see if it doesn’t make sense to take [the HRO] to the Florida Supreme Court or some other route. And then we have to actually learn to see what the trial court would like the City Council to do. And as soon as we hear that, we’ll know whether or not there’ll be another vote or some other course of action.”

The council’s earliest attempt to amend the HRO to protect gay and bisexual people came in 2012. It failed by one vote. 

The version that passed in 2017 included protections for transgender people as well.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.