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Anti-LGBT rights political committee ramps up in Jacksonville

Empower Jacksonville,” a coalition of Jacksonville Christian conservatives looking to challenge the city’s Human Rights Ordinance and other so-called “unjust laws,” is now street-legal, with committee paperwork officially filed with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections.

Empower Jacksonville seeks to have two ballot items voted on in August 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 protecting LGBT citizens from employment, housing, and equal accommodations protections, not the previously extant law.

The Liberty Counsel is behind this effort, with Jacksonville-born barrister Roger Gannam offering legal representation for the group.

Referendums in Jacksonville typically have required serious money to sell them, with marketing for both pension reform and an expansion of slot machines that never actually came to pass costing $2 million each to sell to the general public.

The Empower Jacksonville referendum actions may not require those kinds of resources, as Christian conservatives are able to get signatures and support for their efforts on Sundays and through other church-related outreach mechanisms.

Empower Jacksonville is confident that it will have the resources it needs, Gannam said at a kickoff presser last week.

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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