Jacksonville Anti-Discrimination Gay-Rights Ordinance Struck Down On Appeal

May 1, 2020

Lower courts had dismissed lawsuits arguing Jacksonville’s most recent human rights ordinance change was unconstitutional, but a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeals noted that the way the ordinance was passed violated state and city laws.

Essentially, the City Council passed an ordinance that said it would amend the anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity, but the council never actually did that.

“Instead of setting out the full text of the amendments in context, the proposed ordinance stated that the city’s office of general counsel would write the amended ordinance later,” the court ruled. “That had not happened yet when appellants filed their original or amended complaints. There was no full-text version of each amended provision showing the insertion of new language. ... Without all of that, an amendment is just an idea. Ideas alone are not enforceable.”

The court sent the case back to a trial judge to enforce, but the opinion is clear that the City Council’s version of the ordinance doesn’t pass muster.

Read the full version of this developing story on The Florida Times-Union.