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Email insights: Jacksonville religious right gears up to fight LGBTQ protections

Jacksonville’s LGBT law is back to City Council after a court ruled it invalid.

Correction: This piece originally attributed a quote to Wade Mask, but the quote was not his, even as it was in an email comprised primarily of writing attributed to him. We regret the error. 

Even though Jacksonville City Council meetings aren’t open to the public yet, the return of a hot-button issue roils advocates on both sides.

LGBT rights legislation, codified in 2017 by the Jacksonville City Council, has been thrown into doubt by an appeals court siding with a challenge from the right-leaning Liberty Counsel.

Last week, three Republicans introduced cure legislation to resolve issues found in a court ruling including Council members Aaron BowmanMatt Carlucci, and LeAnna Cumber.

Over the weekend, religious right activists outlined a plan to express their opposition to the bill being passed for a second time.

With the salutation “Friends of Righteousness,” a stark picture emerged in an email from Biblical Concepts Ministries, a right-leaning theopolitical messaging shop.

The message included writings credited to Rev. Wade Mask, as well as uncredited writings.

 “The Council will not be moved by Biblical reasoning,” the email warns. “As a remedy to reinstate the LGBT rights HRO law today the Jacksonville City Council introduced a new bill to vote on again and it’s on the agenda for the next City Council meeting, This Tuesday.  And it’s no secret they have the votes to pass it AGAIN.”

A six-week cycle will permit an elongated period of public comment, however, and in 2012, 2016, and 2017 the debate in Duval County was toxic every time the issue came up. With the same players and same philosophies entrenched on both sides, renewed rancor is at least a possibility.

Despite the right wing seeing this as a done deal setback for them, a leading LGBTQ organization is taking no chances, activating its supporters also.

Equality Florida claims “a lawsuit by far-right extremists threatens to wipe out Jacksonville’s LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.”

The city’s general counsel decried the appeals court ruling as “mind-boggling” and “bizarre” and said the city was reviewing all options, including cure legislation or an appeal.

Slow walked cure legislation appears to be the move.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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