In Houston for the Superbowl, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan broke with the city’s right wing on two hot-button issues.
Khan, a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan, came out against the controversial Donald Trump immigration/travel ban from seven majority-Muslim countries.
And, for good measure, he expressed — to a national publication — his support for the expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to include protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression at work, in housing, and in public accommodations in businesses that aren’t churches or small businesses.
That HRO support was known around Jacksonville; however, discussing it nationally should be seen as a signal.
This bill has its first committee stop on Monday morning. And Khan expects the politicians he’s been working to deliver in committee and when the full council votes on the measure on Feb. 14.
On the Muslim ban, Khan broke with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry in a significant way.
“The bedrock of this country are immigration and really a great separation between church and state,” Khan told the New York Times, describing the ban as “not good” and “sobering” for him personally.
Curry had said, meanwhile, that “when the federal government moves to protect [American citizens], that’s the right move. The Trump administration is trying to protect [Americans] from terrorism.”
On the HRO, meanwhile, Khan said he had “no remorse over supporting it.”
Indeed, Khan and his lobbyist, Paul Harden, have been making calls on behalf of the legislation — and Khan has been known to say that he can’t believe this issue is unresolved in Jacksonville.
Curry has said previously that expanding the Human Rights Ordinance would not be “prudent,” but has pledged to review legislation if presented to him by the city council.
The mayor, who values his relationship with the Jaguars owner, has not pledged a position on the current bill beyond that.