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Jax scores 23 on draft version of 2015 HRC Municipal Equality Index

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans, has prepared a draft version of the 2015 Municipal Equality Index scorecard, and the preliminary numbers are a damning indictment of the Alvin Brown administration’s work, or lack thereof, in that area.

Jacksonville scored just 23 by this measure. The “good news” is that this preliminary number is up from 20 in 2014.

The HRC is in the final process of doing a 408-city study. The scorecard indicates that Jacksonville is lacking in many areas.

A lack of a nondiscrimination law related to employment, housing, or public accommodations resulted in Jacksonville earning zero out of a potential 30 points.

Failure to provide against discrimination in city employment, trans-inclusive health benefits, and a city contractor nondiscrimination ordinance resulted in Jacksonville earning a zero out of a potential 24 points (with 2 bonus points possible, yet unearned).

Jacksonville having a human rights commission earned the city 5 points (and 3 bonus points for enforcement); likewise, an anti-bullying policy in schools earned another 3 points. However, the city’s lack of an LGBT liaison to city executives was another big zero.

The city earned its remaining 12 points for hate crimes reporting.

However, a lack of an LGBT task force in the police department, as well as the city providing no leadership public position on equality, or any recent pro-equality legislative efforts were all zeroes.

The Lenny Curry administration has until Aug. 29 to contact the Human Rights Campaign with feedback to improve the city’s score.

Meanwhile, a recent report from the Office of General Counsel said there’s room to legislate against discrimination, such as in a human rights ordinance, without creating undue enforcement burdens or burdens against religious groups.

As has been discussed, the Curry team has promised to convene stakeholders to discuss adding LGBT people to the Human Rights Ordinance. This draft report suggests that such convening should happen sooner than later.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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