JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA– Tonight, the Jacksonville City Council overwhelmingly rejected the controversial proposed 2012-296 “non-discrimination” ordinance. 296 created a new protected class and special rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and persons of any “gender identity or expression.”  If passed, the measure would have created a cause of action for money damages against private citizens by gay identified and other persons who subjectively felt they were being treated unfairly in workplace, housing and public accommodations.

Ordinance 2012-296 was amended with a substitute bill that removed the gender identity and expression provisions but left in the sexual orientation language. That bill was defeated by a vote of 10-9. Then the original bill was overwhelmingly rejected by a stunning vote of 17-2. 

The Florida Family Policy Council marshalled tens of thousands of emails and phone calls to the Councilmen offices. The FFPC also launched radio ads, automated calls, and media interviews, created coalitions and organized church leaders to education and influence the City Council. John Stemberger, President and General Counsel of the FFPC, was in the trenches in Jacksonville several times, personally testifying before the City Council and helping concerned citizens organize against 296. 

Stemberger released the following statement regarding the defeat of 296:

“This is an extraordinary victory for the people of Jacksonville who rose up and made it clear they were not going to allow some secret council of elite powerbrokers or activists from outside Jacksonville to force extreme policies upon them. I could not be more proud of the local residents who worked so hard to create a citywide movement to defeat this disaster of an ordinance.  I believe we are seeing the tables start to turn on “gay rights” issues when Americans see how really extreme these left-wing activists are. These are not just people who have a same sex attraction and want to be left alone to freely define themselves. This is a radical group of political operatives who want to force their aberrant views on human sexuality upon the rest of society by the mandate and penalty of law. Between the Chick-fil-A backlash, the recent outing of the new “pan-gendered” legislator in Texas, the plummeting of JC Penny stocks after they started displaying ads with openly gay men on Father’s day, Home Depot parading explicit sexual conduct in front of children, and now the major defeat of 296 in Florida’s largest and most progressive city, I believe people waking up to the truth that this is not about discrimination or fairness but about an intolerance and utter disrespect for the rights of others, namely Christians and those who believe in traditional family values. 

The vote count was as follows:

First Vote on Amended Substitute Bill:

9 Voted For:
Anderson, Bishop, Boyer, Clark, Crescimbeni, Jones, Joost, Lee & Love (9)

10 Voted Against:
Brown, Carter, Daniels, Gaffney, Gulliford, Holt, Lumb, Redman, Schellenberg & Yarborough (10)

Second Vote on Original Bill
2 Voted For the bill in its original form after substitute failed:
Jones & Lee

17 Voted Against the Original Bill:
Anderson, Bishop, Boyer, Brown, Carter, Clark, Crescimbeni, Daniels, Gaffney, Gulliford, Holt, Joost, Love, Lumb, Redman, Schellenberg, Yarborough (17)

The Jacksonville Times Union story also gives a detailed breakdown of the votes and how each councilman came down on the matter. 

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