Jax conservatives to make straw ballot challenge to LGBT rights law - Florida Politics

Jax conservatives to make straw ballot challenge to LGBT rights law

On Valentine’s Day, the Jacksonville City Council voted to expand the city’s Human Rights Ordinance to include LGBT people.

On Thursday, a group of local Christian conservatives, backed by the Liberty Counsel, united under the banner of Empower Jacksonville to challenge that law — and all laws that citizens deem to be “unjust.”

Empower Jacksonville seeks to have two ballot items in Aug. 2018. The first: a referendum to change the city’s charter to allow citizens to challenge any law via referendum.

The second measure: a straw ballot on whether or not the HRO should be subject to citizen referendum. The specific area of contention: the additions to the law this February, not the previously extant law.

Small businesses are “fed up with the city telling them how to run their businesses, their bathroom policies, who they can do business with, and what they can and cannot say,” said the group’s co-chair, local banker Bennett Brown.

Liberty Counsel lawyer Roger Gannam is handling the technical side of these initiatives for the group, and he expressed confidence in their progress and eventual success.

Noting that the group got 9,000 signatures for an HRO referendum in 2016, Gannam asserted that they will have no problem meeting the threshold this time out.

The HRO, said Gannam, is a “sword hanging over the heads” of the people of Jacksonville.

“This is a message to the entire city government of Jacksonville,” Gannam said, “a clear message to any politician” with future political ambitions.

Ballot access is not a done deal, says LGBT activist Jimmy Midyette of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality.

“The petitioner’s committee, if they’ve formed one, can’t have legally collected any petitions yet,” Midyette said.

Mayor Lenny Curry‘s public information officer Tia Ford offered a statement on behalf of the executive branch Thursday afternoon.

“The City of Jacksonville has a process that allows citizens to gather signatures to put issues that are important to them to vote by referendum. The mayor respects citizens’ rights to follow that process. The mayor and OGC have not been given any additional information for review, so we’d need to see it before we can discuss it any further,” Ford stated.

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche was unaware of this citizen initiative before we asked, and Brosche looks forward to input from the city’s General Counsel, she told us Thursday afternoon.


  1. Equal rights for LGBT; you cannot be serious. It’s very simple; a person cannot choose their race or color; but, they can sure choose their life style. The gay rights issue must be put down. This is not about equal rights.

    1. Mr. Dan Martin, with as much respect as I can muster up for you after a statement like yours – I must say that you are so uninformed about the issue. Their choice of whom they are attracted to is the same as whether you are attracted to a blond, brunette or red head with a perfect figure or overweight AND whether the woman is intelligent, mildly intelligent or just a trophy-type woman. Also, is she loving and kind and understanding or self-centered and has as much lack of knowledge as you? I have no intent to insult you as much as to try to encourage you to learn a bit more about the subject than you are posting about. God bless all of his children including you sir.

      1. God does also love the sodomite and if they are willing to be willing they can CHOOSE the light over darkness.

    2. You can’t chose who you are attracted to any more than you can your skin color. Stop discriminating against things you don’t “get”. & take the time to pick up a science text and learn.

    3. Please show me the logic and the statistics on your claim otherwise we are all to assume you have no data that will substantiate your claim. Your claims are prejudiced and not accurate.

    4. You don’t know what you are talking about. This law does not impact you at all, so your opinion is not needed.

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