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Tommy Hazouri is one of the HRO co-sponsors set to be honored.

Jax

Tommy Hazouri on Lenny Curry: ‘I’m sure the mayor has his regrets’

The mass shooting in Orlando isn’t changing Tommy Hazouri‘s timetable for reintroducing an updated human rights ordinance in Jacksonville.

“It’s been our plan all along to do it after the mayor’s sales tax referendum,” Hazouri told WJCT.

That said, the former mayor and at-large city councilman says the shootings of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando lend new urgency to his quest.

“Bottom line, we need the same protections for the LGBT community as we have for the rest of Jacksonville. And frankly, those who say that they’re for it, and who ran on it, need to come and speak out about it. It shouldn’t be just me, Aaron Bowman and Jim Love (the bill’s co-sponsors). It is so important. It makes a statement about Jacksonville and who we are. We need to do it and we need to do it yesterday.”

Hazouri says he’ll try again in September to get 10 votes on the 19-member council to support an updated HRO that bans discrimination against LGBT citizens in the areas of jobs, housing and public accommodations. Jacksonville remains the only large American metro area without an updated version of a human rights ordinance covering LGBTs.

Meanwhile, Hazouri also let loose on Brunswick Pastor Ken Adkins, whose hate speech about the LGBT community has become well known in Jacksonville over the last year.

“Been through so much with these Jacksonville Homosexuals that I don’t see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve!” Adkins tweeted after the Pulse massacre.

“He’s a hatemonger, there’s no question about it,” said Hazouri, who has often been the target of Adkins’ tweets, some of which featured images of Hazouri depicted in women’s clothing inside women’s restrooms.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who has said he does not think an updated HRO is necessary, hosted a series of community conversations regarding the potential expansion of the HRO in the first year in his term, which had Adkins as a panelist representing opposition to expansion. Curry says he did not personally pick Adkins and has denounced his post-Orlando comments.

“I asked the mayor at the time why he would put somebody on there that is speaking against the HRO in such a vicious way,” said Hazouri. “In hindsight, I’m sure the mayor has his regrets.”

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In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.

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