There’s Nothing ‘Bold’ Or ‘New’ About This One, Jax

Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Jacksonville, Life | One Comment

Normally in this space, at least lately, I write about what I eat.

Tonight’s different. Tonight, something’s eating me.

Wednesday night’s Jacksonville City Council failure to act in updating the city’s human rights ordinance is a tragic error of omission that leaves a segment of our community exposed to discrimination in housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Other cities large and small have amended their versions of the same to protect all classes of citizens. But not here in Hooterville. This “Bold New City of the South” and some of its short-sighted “leaders” have instead chosen the cloak of faith and a misinterpreted moral mandate to claim you don’t need the force of law to enjoy equal rights.

It’s 2012, people. Really? Didn’t we learn anything from the early 60s? Axe Handle Saturday ring any bells? To those who voted this down, I have to wonder.

Just because someone’s lifestyle doesn’t live up to some Sunday-best, finely pressed Christian role model some elected officials espouse shouldn’t open him up to ridicule and exclusion. Just because someone doesn’t look like you or act in a manner that conforms to your values doesn’t invalidate his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This 1962-era intolerance has no place in my community. Unfortunately, City Council’s failure to act is a silent acceptance of this “vintage” behavior.

Some of the dissenting lawmakers also have claimed there isn’t sufficient evidence to say there’s discrimination in the LGBT community to warrant a wording change. What’s the harm in adding the words, then? Consider it proactive legislation. Sure, it won’t necessarily stop discrimination, but it will pave a path for justice for those who deserve relief.

What are our fair council people afraid of? How about … not getting re-elected because many of their constituents are prejudiced bigots? I’ll throw my money behind that view. I guess they don’t much care for the new Jacksonville residents who won’t come here because their companies’ leaders will choose to steer clear of havens for intolerance and a compromised quality of life.

I’m 37, a moderate Republican, a practicing Catholic and straight, with a girlfriend I love very much. I share company with gay and lesbian friends. I may not subscribe to their lifestyle choice, but I subscribe to their right to live as free as I do. Let’s hope our elected leaders, including a missing-in-action Mayor Brown, see the tarnish their actions have brought and work to restore our city’s image and real freedom for all who call Jacksonville home.

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1 Comment

  1. Scott Dowman
    August 17, 2012

    An amazing and thoughtful view of an amazingly short sighted action by some of our leaders. Well written and to the point. We are good friend’s of Doreen O’Toole’s and she passed this to on to us. Any chance that you could send this to the TU as a follow up letter to the editor? It could speak for so many good people who are also affected by this selfish action. Thanks for the good read and the best to you.