Vowing to reintroduce it “in two months,” Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri says he’ll keep bringing back HRO legislation because it’s “simple and to the point.”
“We have a human rights ordinance that covers everybody but the LGBT community, and all we’re wanting to do is include them,” he told WJCT’s First Coast Connect. “It’s pure and simple discrimination.”
Hazouri, also a former mayor, state legislator, and school board member, has been the most prominent supporter of expanding equal protections to Jacksonville’s LGBT community. Over the next two months, he says he’ll work further with city attorneys to further clarify business and religious exemptions, and continue to educate the public about the matter.
Meanwhile, Hazouri called concerns over transgender males visiting public bathrooms a “red herring.”
“People think that transgender people are going to go into a restroom and attack somebody. And that’s not true. Talk to sheriff’s offices around the country. Their problem is with sexual predators, not transgenders. Besides, transgender people have been going into bathrooms all along, it’s just that people didn’t realize it.”
And Hazouri, the area’s most popular Democrat, didn’t miss his chance to get in some on-air shots at his two most vocal GOP adversaries at City Hall: Mayor Lenny Curry and City Councilman Bill Gulliford (who wanted a public referendum on the HRO).
“While I commend the mayor for doing protections for city workers, what about the rest of Jacksonville? We need to do it as a city to show our commitment, to ‘One City, One Jacksonville,’ as he likes to proclaim.”
As for Gulliford’s referendum bill, now withdrawn:
“He had a chance to do that in 2012. He was on the Council. He voted against the bill. I wouldn’t mind asking you, let’s have a debate on this. I’ll be glad to debate Mr. Gulliford about the issue itself right here if you’ll set it up, keeping in mind that no human rights issue has ever been voted on through a referendum.”