The Sunshine State just got a little bit less bright. The Jacksonville City Council voted Wednesday night to reject a bill that would have expanded the city's human rights ordinance to protect LGBT citizens in Florida from discrimination in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.
City Councilman Warren Jones proposed the bill back in May to add "sexual orientation, gender identity or expression" to the list of things that an individual should not be discriminated against for.
Before the Wednesday vote, advocates and opponents of the bill spoke out on their positions. Supporters of the bill argued that Jacksonville has been slow to take steps to protect gay individuals, while opponents said that passing the bill would open doors to legalizing same-sex marriage (Florida is one of 38 states in the country that have laws against same-sex marriage).
The saddest part of all this? The celebratory statement released by John Stemberger, President and General Counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council:
"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 (sp) 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."
That someone can't be both gay and Christian in his mind is plain in the argument Stemberger makes about the "utter disrespect for the rights of others, namely Christians and those who believe in traditional values." I'd think that advocating against individuals' rights to be protected by law from discrimination and hate would qualify as "utter disrespect," at least under the definition most of us who speak English use.