The final vote is once again delayed on the proposed changes to Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance, but a committee today did rule on changes in the proposal’s wording.
Councilman Warren Jones put forth a substitute version of the bill to the Rule Committee today. The most notable change is in the language. Protection against discrimination based on “sexual orientation” was preserved, but the language protecting based on “gender identity or expression” was removed.
“We didn’t want to get in to all the behavioral issues. We just wanted to say it’s wrong to discriminate based on race, creed, color, etc. , and sexual orientation,” says Council President Stephen Joost.
He says research shows orientation is something that is engraved at birth, but expression deal with behavior, which made council members and potential supporters uneasy.
“As a community, I think everyone agrees you shouldn’t discriminate. The trick is always how do you put that in to words,” he says.
Joost hoped to move the changes out of committee today, but the committee deferred the bill to next month.
While the Rules Committee approved the substituted bill, another committee which meets tomorrow has to make that decision as well for the altered proposal to go before the committee. Joost expects this to happen without any problems.